A proposal that would put a three-year moratorium on a controversial bitcoin mining process in New York state has gained support over the last several weeks, with 41 state lawmakers in the Assembly signing on as co-sponsors of the legislation.
The bill also has the backing of 15 top-ranking committee chairs in the Assembly as of Thursday, advocates said this week, including Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions Chair Amy Paulin and Government Operations Chair Ken Zebrowski.
Advocates this year have been calling for a moratorium — either by Gov. Kathy Hochul or through legislation — on proof-of-work bitcoin mining.
The concern stems from the amount of energy needed by operations to generate cryptocurrency and the servers that are needed to operate them. Environmental groups have argued the operations hinder efforts to combat the effects of climate change in the state just as the state is moving to reduce its usage of carbon-based energies in the coming years.
Officials are working this decade to implement a law that is meant to transition New York to more renewable forms of energy in the coming years.
The bitcoin issue has been a key concern in areas like the Finger Lakes region where some bitcoin operations have fallen under scrutiny.
“Given that there are methods of validating cryptocurrency transactions that use a tiny fraction of Proof-of-Work cryptocurrency mining, we can not only excel as a cryptocurrency capital if that is the will of the people, but we can do it without courting this mining industry in our state at the incredible cost of our clean air, water, and climate,” said Assemblymember Anna Kelles. “I am deeply honored to join with my colleagues, including Assembly Members Paulin and Zebrowski, to establish a moratorium on cryptomining and require a full environmental assessment of its impact in the interest of our state’s environmental goals.”