US Government Halts Bitcoin Mining Survey Amidst Legal Tussle

The United States government has agreed to halt its mandatory assessment and data collection of energy consumption by the Bitcoin mining industry. 

The decision comes after Riot Platforms and the Texas Blockchain Council initiated legal action, following which the Department of Energy and the EIA agreed to withdraw the survey. 

Bitcoin Mining Survey Halted 

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) initiated the mandatory data collection survey in January. However, this was challenged by Riot Platforms and the Texas Blockchain Council. The lawsuit challenged the mandatory submission of data on power usage that the Cryptocurrency Mining Facilities Survey imposed amid allegations that the Energy Information Administration failed to justify the urgency of the survey, as required under federal law. The lawsuit further stated that the Energy Information Administration had exceeded its authority by failing to prove how the survey would prevent public harm. 

Responding to the lawsuit, the Department of Energy and the Energy Information Administration agreed to halt and withdraw the survey entirely and also promised to destroy all data collected during the survey. 

“EIA will destroy any information that it has already received in response to the survey, and if it receives any additional information, it will destroy that as well.”

Agreement Reached 

Vice president of research at Riot Platforms, Pierre Rochard, took to X to state that the government was canceling the survey and destroying the data it had collected. 

“BREAKING: the Biden Administration is canceling the fake #Bitcoin mining “emergency” declaration and destroying the data that it illegally collected. The government is going to restart the process the legal way: with public notice and comment.”

Bitcoin Mining’s Energy Requirements 

The issue stems from the perception that Bitcoin mining requires a substantial amount of electricity to operate a large number of computers to solve cryptographic problems and validate transactions. Estimates released by the Energy Information Administration suggested that Bitcoin mining accounts for between 0.6% and 2.3% of the annual electricity consumption in the United States. For context, the state of Utah accounted for 0.8% of the total electricity consumed in 2023, while Washington State, with a population of 8 million, accounted for 2.3%. 

Department Of Energy To Solicit Feedback 

Meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration has stated that it would invite feedback on its crypto miner survey after reaching an agreement with Riot Platforms and the Texas Blockchain Council. The agreement states that the EIA will first publish a notice proposing its planned miner survey and take comments for 60 days. This notice will replace the survey, which was initiated under emergency status. 

“Defendants agree that in considering the comments submitted in response to the New Federal Register Notice, EIA will also consider any comments submitted in response to the February 9 Notice as if they had been submitted in response to the New Federal Register Notice.”

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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