Bitcoin miners in the United States can heave a sigh of relief as a proposed tax on crypto mining failed to make its way into a bill aimed at raising the U.S. debt ceiling. The tax proposal, known as the Digital Assets Mining Energy (DAME) excise tax, intended to levy a tax on crypto miners equivalent to 10% of their electricity costs in 2024, with plans to increase it to 30% in 2026.
The DAME tax faced significant opposition due to concerns that it could potentially lead to an increase in global emissions. Critics argued that if miners were forced to relocate to countries with higher emissions from energy production, it would have a counterproductive effect on reducing environmental impact. Furthermore, Bitcoin miners often seek out regions with cheap energy, including excess renewable energy, which can incentivize its production by providing a market for otherwise wasted energy.
The news of the tax proposal’s exclusion from the bill came after Pierre Rochard, the vice president of research at Bitcoin miner Riot Platforms, noticed its absence. Representative Warren Davidson responded, referring to the omission as a “victory” for the bill. While some online discussions suggested that the proposal was permanently defeated, others, such as Coin Metrics co-founder Nic Carter, cautioned that it could still resurface in future bills. Carter speculated that the administration might try to include it in an omnibus bill, but it would require passage through both Congress and the House, making it unlikely due to the Republican party’s general opposition to tax increases.
U.S. on Bitcoin mining
Senator Cynthia Lummis, during a conversation at the Bitcoin 2023 conference, reassured viewers that the DAME tax was not going to happen. Lummis emphasized the importance of keeping Bitcoin mining firms in the U.S., citing reasons such as national security, energy security, and the potential for reducing emissions from gas flaring and stabilizing the energy grid.
When approached for comment, the White House did not respond regarding its plans to pursue the DAME tax. Fred Thiel, CEO of Marathon Digital Holdings, expressed his belief that the Biden administration would continue opposing the crypto sector, regardless of the fate of the DAME tax. Thiel suggested that the government would persist in its anti-crypto agenda, which he perceived as misguided efforts to undermine the industry.
Thiel’s sentiments align with many within the crypto industry and some U.S. lawmakers who argue that the government is orchestrating a coordinated effort to discourage banks from working with crypto firms under the guise of preserving financial system stability and safety, similar to the concept of Choke Point 2.0.
Businesses typically aim to minimize risks when making long-term decisions. Therefore, if faced with the choice between operating in a region with clear and crypto-friendly policies or one with ambiguous regulations and potential policies detrimental to U.S.-based activities, firms generally opt for the former.
Thiel highlighted the impact of government actions and regulations on business decisions. In light of the uncertain mining regulations in the U.S., Marathon Digital Holdings has already initiated diversification efforts by establishing mining facilities in Abu Dhabi, which has attracted crypto-related investments through its pro-market regulatory approach.
Overall, while the exclusion of the DAME tax from the bill is a temporary relief for U.S. Bitcoin miners, concerns remain about the broader stance of the U.S. government and regulators towards the crypto sector. The industry anticipates further challenges and obstacles, leading some firms to explore alternative jurisdictions with more favorable regulatory environments