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U.S. Government pauses scrutiny of Bitcoin mining’s energy consumption after court ruling

TL;DR

  • The U.S. Department of Energy temporarily suspends its survey on cryptocurrency miners’ energy consumption after a lawsuit from Riot Blockchain and the Texas Blockchain Council.
  • A court ruling criticized the DOE’s actions as arbitrary and halted the survey, ordering the EIA to sequester collected data.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has temporarily halted its controversial survey to assess the energy consumption of cryptocurrency mining operations. This decision comes in the wake of legal challenges from industry participants, including Riot Blockchain, a leading mining company, and the Texas Blockchain Council. 

The suspension was disclosed in a recent filing with the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas Waco Division. The DOE’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), responsible for the survey, confirmed that it would sequester the data already collected and cease further data collection efforts for the time being.

The initiative to monitor energy usage by Bitcoin miners began earlier this month, drawing immediate criticism from the mining community and some U.S. legislators. They argued that the survey was invasive, lacked a solid legal or regulatory basis, and was driven by political motives rather than genuine concerns about energy consumption.

Court ruling favors mining sector

The controversy climaxed when Riot Platforms, formerly known as Riot Blockchain, and the Texas Blockchain Council filed a lawsuit against the DOE. They contended that the survey was not only unnecessary but also illegal. The court, in a ruling dated February 23, agreed with the plaintiffs. It criticized the DOE’s actions as arbitrary and capricious, constituting an abuse of discretion. Consequently, a temporary restraining order was issued, stopping the survey in its tracks and requiring the EIA to isolate the collected data.

This court decision has been approved by various quarters within the cryptocurrency industry. Advocates have long maintained that the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining should be viewed in context and that the sector should not be singled out for scrutiny compared to other energy-intensive industries.

Implications and industry response

The EIA has stated that it will not enforce any filing requirements or impose penalties related to the halted survey until March 22, 2024. This move has provided temporary relief to Bitcoin miners, who had expressed concerns about the potential for discriminatory treatment. Environmentalists and industry observers, such as Daniel Batten, have highlighted the need for a balanced approach to energy consumption across all sectors, criticizing what they see as a double standard in the treatment of Bitcoin data centers versus those used for artificial intelligence and other purposes.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Damilola Lawrence

Damilola is a crypto enthusiast, content writer, and journalist. When he is not writing, he spends most of his time reading and keeping tabs on exciting projects in the blockchain space. He also studies the ramifications of Web3 and blockchain development to have a stake in the future economy.

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