Crypto mining in the US is an activity that is becoming increasingly popular, especially as the technology is being developed. However, there are some concerns about how the activity will affect the environment. These include energy consumption and local impacts, as well as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Crypto mining is growing in the United States. The industry has exploded in the last year. But the energy consumption associated with crypto mining is a big concern for conservation advocates. It can be costly to the electric grid, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution.
A new report from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy paints a clear picture of the energy demands of crypto mining. The report calls for federal agencies to collect data on the use of electricity in the crypto industry, as well as to develop performance standards for environmentally responsible crypto technologies.
Crypto miners are estimated to use as much as 0.9% to 1.7% of the nation’s electricity. This is comparable to the amount of electricity used by home computers in the United States. Moreover, crypto mining operations consume the same amount of fossil-fuel-fired electricity that is used by railroads.
As crypto mining grows, more and more fossil fuels will be used in its operations. These fossil fuels contribute to global air pollution and climate change.
Cryptomining companies have been criticized for their significant carbon footprint. They use specialized computers to solve puzzles and award crypto-assets to miners. This energy-intensive activity is causing local pollution. It has also been associated with noise and local impacts to communities near mining facilities.
The United States hosts a third of the global crypto-asset mining industry. As a result, the country’s greenhouse gas emissions from crypto-asset activities are estimated to be as high as 25 to 50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Moreover, the industry could have a negative impact on the reliability of the electric grid.
A recent report from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) calls for the US to reduce emissions from crypto-assets and explore their environmental impact. The OSTP’s recommendations include establishing performance standards and providing technical assistance to environmental protection agencies. Similarly, the report urges the federal government to consider the climate impact of crypto-assets in developing national clean energy goals.
Initially residents of Cherokee county, North Carolina were largely oblivious to the new crypto mining businesses popping up in the area. But then the influx of crypto miners started pouring in, and the noise complaints have begun.
There’s no question that mining a cryptocurrency is noisy. Thousands of computers are running calculations, and they need fans to cool them down. They also use gas to run generators. The machines produce a droning sound that local residents say is akin to a jet engine on a runway.
It’s not surprising that there are dozens of crypto mining operations now operating in the US. With cheap power and minimal regulation, it’s not hard to see why these firms chose to set up shop in the United States. And since China banned cryptocurrency mining last year, many companies have moved their operations to the U.S. Several crypto mines have opened up in Appalachia.
For instance, Red Dog Technologies, a cryptocurrency mining operation in Limestone, Tennessee, has garnered a fair amount of controversy. The company has had a number of clashes with local residents, and its attorney argued that it provided a public utility service.
Crypto mining operations in the US produce 25 to 50 million metric tons of carbon pollution annually. They consume fossil fuel-generated electricity, which produces nitrogen oxides, fine particles of sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide.
While these operations aren’t directly harmful to the environment, their impact on local communities can be significant. They increase electricity bills, noise levels, and water pollution. Their impact on the local community may exacerbate environmental justice issues.
Crypto assets are digital assets implemented with cryptographic techniques. Many cities are trying to lure companies interested in mining them by offering competitive tax rates and low energy costs. But these incentives also drive up the cost of living for some residents. In addition, some states offer tax breaks to attract crypto companies.
The crypto industry is growing rapidly. Some mayors have taken a public stance in support of crypto, including Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who has taken over the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
But if the crypto industry continues to grow, it will likely hinder the nation’s ability to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. To mitigate its negative effects, the federal government should encourage responsible development. It should also protect the health and safety of the public.