Mining Impacting Energy Prices, Environment Says NY Times; China’s Blockchain Platform

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mining – under the microscope

In a 5,000 word article, The New York Times takes a critical look at Bitcoin mining and identifies 34 Bitcoin mining operations across the United States which it says is putting “immense pressure on the power grid and most finding novel ways to profit from doing so. Their operations can create costs – including higher electricity bills and enormous carbon pollution – for everyone around them, most of whom have nothing to do with Bitcoin.” Read more.

Ben Hertz-Shargel of energy research firm Wood Mackenzie which helps aggregate data for the NYT’s piece says that bitcoin mining is a “a massive financial burden to Texans.” It was only two years ago, in April 2021, that Wood Mackenzie penned “How bitcoin mining can support the energy transition.”

The article’s critique leans more toward additional cost burdens absorbed by consumers adjacent to crypto mining operations versus criticism of mining’s environmental impact. But, both are featured.

more tips:

It would not be surprising to see Senator Elizabeth Warren (D, MA) use the substance of this article to reignite her criticism of bitcoin mining. See her July 2022 letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Secretary of Energy which raised concerns about mining operations’ environmental impact.

mining – Texas

In response to recent Texas bill SB 1751 which could increase Bitcoin mining costs and upend the state’s mining businesses, a coalition of forces including The Texas Blockchain Council, Chamber of Digital Commerce and Satoshi Action Fund started a new initiative to support the mining industry and advocate to Texas state legislators. Read the release.

Former Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) President Brad Jones is quoted saying, “Bitcoin miners have provided a valuable additional tool for ERCOT’s operators during tight supply conditions: a flexible load that can shut down so that needed electricity can flow to our most vulnerable customers.”

The timing of the release in response to The New York Times’ article appears to be a coincidence.

more tips:

Don’t Mess With Texas Innovation website – Texas Blockchain Council

new stablecoin

In the wake of regulators such as New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) shutting down BUSD, the Binance stablecoin run by Paxos, a new stablecoin called TrueUSD has benefited on the Binance platform says the Wall Street Journal.  Archblock COO Alex de Lorraine tells the WSJ, “If regulation changed and we suddenly couldn’t work with somebody because of compliance reasons, then they wouldn’t be able to interact with us anymore.” Read more. Archblock issues TrueUSD.

China’s blockchain platform

Politico reports that Rep. Mike Gallagher (R, WI), who is Chair of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, met with tech executives over the past week and expressed concerns about China’s development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) products and solutions as well as its open-source blockchain platform known as the Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN). Regarding BSN, Gallagher is quoted as saying “potential widespread adoption will allow the [Chinese Communist Party] to get closer to their global surveillance goals.” Read a bit more.

more tips:

China has been quietly building a blockchain platform. Here’s what we know – CNBC, May 2022

Blockchain-based logistics looks increasingly Chinese after exit of Maersk – South China Morning Post

Australia bank wants crypto

Australia’s Commonwealth Bank says that local investors are continuing to invest in cryptocurrency. As the Sydney Morning Herald reports, “Given the level of retail investor interest, the banking giant is firmly supportive of moves to bring in regulation, arguing this will give consumers greater protections, while also providing greater clarity to businesses looking to invest and innovate.” Read more.

more tips

‘Good argument’ to regulate crypto as financial product, minister says – Sydney Morning Herald, Jan. 2023

photo op

“Today [New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) Superintendent] Adrienne A. Harris met with Emmanuelle Assouan, Directorate General of Financial Stability and Operations, and members of [Banque de France] delegation to discuss financial stability, virtual currency regulation and ongoing collaboration.” – NYDFS on Twitter

still more tips

Opinion: Every Crypto Project Must Reckon With the SEC’s Howey Test – Decrypt

North Carolina Blockchain Initiative Urges Buncombe County Planning Board and Board of Commissioners to Consider Alternative Solutions to Proposed Moratorium (PDF) – press release

Developer of Signature Bank’s 24/7 payment system Signet calls crypto ‘a distraction’ – Fortune

Crypto exchange Huobi returns to profitability in Q1 after restructuring – CoinTelegraph

As crypto startup valuations come back to Earth, big investors are bargain hunting – TechCrunch

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