WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and colleagues in sending letters to six cryptomining companies raising concerns over their high energy use and the effects that has on raising household electric bills. In the letters to Riot Blockchain, Marathon Digital Holdings, Stronghold Digital Mining, Bitdeer, Bitfury Group, and Bit Digital, the lawmakers pressed the companies for information relating to their cryptomining operations and skyrocketing energy consumption.
“Given the extraordinarily high energy usage and carbon emissions associated with Bitcoin mining, mining operations raise concerns about their impacts on the global environment, local ecosystems, and consumer electricity costs,” write the Senators.
As the letters discuss, Bitcoin is the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, and the United States’ share of Bitcoin mining increased from 4 percent in August 2019 to 35 percent in July 2021. As more cryptomining operations proliferate in the United States, the extraordinary energy use raises alarms about massive carbon emissions and the impacts of this energy consumption on consumer energy prices. A recent study estimated that cryptomining in upstate New York raised annual electric bills by about $165 million for small businesses and $79 million for consumers.
Senators Warren, Hassan, and colleagues asked each company to detail their electricity consumption, scaling plans, agreements with electricity companies, and impact on energy costs for consumers and small businesses by February 10, 2022.
These letters are part of Senator Hassan’s ongoing oversight of cryptocurrency. She introduced bipartisan legislation to help improve oversight of cryptocurrency mining operations in foreign countries, and pressed for action on the criminal use of cryptocurrency following a cyberattack on the Town of Peterborough.