This is Why US Authorities Are Pausing Survey on Bitcoin Miners

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Bitcoin Miners Win Legal Battle: Energy Consumption Survey Paused
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Following substantial opposition, the United States has paused its endeavor to collect energy consumption data from Bitcoin miners.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA), a US Department of Energy division, announced plans to gather information on crypto miners’ energy usage last month.

Bitcoin Mining Survey Suspended

EIA’s move was met with immediate backlash from the mining community and various US legislators who deemed it intrusive. Consequently, Riot Platforms, a prominent Bitcoin mining firm, and the Texas Blockchain Council initiated legal action against the authorities, arguing that the survey was unlawful and politically driven.

A court order from February 23, shared by Pierre Rochard, Riot’s VP of Research, revealed that the court ruled in favor of the Bitcoin miners. It found the Energy Department’s justification lacking and criticized the action as arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion.

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As a result, the court issued a temporary restraining order, halting the survey and mandating the EIA to isolate the data it had already collected from Bitcoin miners. Additionally, the EIA confirmed it would suspend its mandatory survey and sequester the gathered data for a month.

“EIA will not enforce any requirement to file Form EIA-862 nor seek or impose any fines, penalties, or other adverse consequences based on a failure to respond to the survey through March 22, 2024,” EIA stated.

The recent judgment has been lauded by many in the crypto community. Environmentalist and venture investor Daniel Batten emphasized the importance of fair treatment for all energy consumers. Batten further criticized the discriminatory nature of harsh penalties for Bitcoin data centers compared to a lenient approach toward AI data centers’ energy usage.

In alignment with these viewpoints, GOP Majority Whip Rep. Tom Emmer applauded the survey’s suspension, condemning the EIA’s push for Bitcoin miners to disclose proprietary data.

Bitcoin Mining Energy Usage. Source: Techopedia

In recent years, cryptocurrency miners have faced increased scrutiny about their impact on the environment and their high energy usage. However, stakeholders have argued that BTC mining activities contribute to the stability and efficiency of power systems.

US Senator Cynthia Lummis particularly praised Bitcoin mining for its positive contributions to America’s energy grids and the exploration of new energy sources.

“As I’ve said for years, bitcoin mining is GOOD for America’s energy grids and the development of new/stranded energy resources. Glad to see EIA temporarily suspend its intrusive and ill advised survey,” Lummis said.

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