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Biggest Cryptominers in the U.S. Use as Much Power as Houston, Findings Show

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Seven of the largest Bitcoin mining companies in the United States will use as much electricity together as almost every home in Houston, according to data released Friday as part of a congressional Democratic investigation. It is set. Energy use.

After China cracked down on last year’s practice, the United States has seen an influx of cryptocurrency miners using powerful, energy-intensive computers to create and track cryptocurrencies. Democrats, led by Senator Elizabeth Warren, are also asking companies to report their emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is a major driver of climate change.

“This limited data alone shows that cryptominers are large energy users with large and rapidly increasing carbon emissions,” said Senator Warren and five other MPs. A member of the Diet wrote a letter to the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Ministry of Energy. “But little is known about the full range of crypto mining activities,” they wrote.

According to the survey, the surge in crypto mining has also significantly increased the energy costs of locals and small businesses, putting a strain on the power grids of states such as Texas, the letter said.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have grown exponentially since they were introduced over a decade ago, and in recent years there have been concerns about cryptography, the process of creating virtual coins. The process is a complex guessing game with a powerful and power-intensive computer that consumes a lot of energy. Around the world, Bitcoin mining uses more electricity than many countries.

Earlier this year, a group of parliamentary Democrats began investigating energy use at the country’s largest crypto mining company. They asked seven crypto companies for data on their operations, and the group’s findings, published Friday, are based on company responses.

The data show that seven companies alone have 1,045 MW of electricity, enough to power all homes in the Houston-sized city, the fourth largest city in the United States with 2.3 million inhabitants. Indicates that you have set it to use. The two companies also said they plan to expand capacity at an alarming rate.

As of February, Marathon Digital Holdings, one of the largest crypto mining companies in the United States, had approximately 33,000 highly specialized, power-intensive computers, called “mining rigs,” initially in operation. He told the probe that it had increased from just over 2,000 units. By the beginning of next year, the number will be up to 199,000 rigs, which is expected to increase almost 100 times in two years.

The company is currently operating Crypto Mining Center Powered by the Hardin power plant in Montana. The power plant burns coal, the dirtiest fuel, to generate electricity. But in April, Marathon announced that it was moving these businesses to “a new location with more sustainable power sources” and working towards achieving carbon neutrality. No further details were provided.

Cryptographic mining companies are often close to power sources due to the high demand for electricity.

Greenwich Generation Holdings, which operates a natural gas plant-powered Bitcoin mining center in northern New York, predicts that by 2025, it will increase its mining capacity by a factor of 10 in multiple locations, including South Carolina and Texas. Said that. He refused to renew the facility’s air pollution permit and said Greenwich’s crypto mining business was a threat to the state’s goal of limiting greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. Greenidge said it could continue to operate under current permits while challenging the state’s decision.

Overall, the seven largest crypto mining companies will increase their total mining capacity by at least 2,399 MW over the next few years, up nearly 230% from current levels, and enough energy to power 1.9 million homes. I’m expecting.

Some crypto mining companies say they operate using renewable energy. The riot blockchain, in response to Senator’s request for information, pointed out a coin mint mining facility in Massena, NY, which uses hydropower almost exclusively. However, the letter states that its much larger Whinstone facility draws more than 60% of its power generation capacity from the Texas grid, which relies on coal or natural gas.

The company’s chief executive officer, Jason Les, said in a statement that Texas’s renewable energy continues to be widespread. Cryptominers also have the flexibility to shut down when demand is high, reducing pressure on the grid.

Meanwhile, the surge in demand from crypto mining has been blamed for pushing up local electricity prices.According to a study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, electricity demand for cryptominers in northern New York It was pushing up the electricity bill every year It’s about $ 165 million for small businesses and $ 79 million for individual households. That’s an additional charge of about $ 71 a year for the average household, an increase of about 6 percent.

It was unclear how the recent slump in cryptocurrency prices would affect expansion plans. Also, the overall picture of the energy use of more than seven cryptominers was not clear.

With these concerns in mind, Senator Warren needs to work together in her letter to establish rules that require cryptominers to report energy usage and emissions. Said. This will allow the federal government to monitor energy usage and trends with the goal of initiating regulations in less regulated industries.

White House Policy recommendations are also under consideration The Bloomberg Act reported last month to lower the energy consumption and emission footprint of cryptocurrency mining.

China’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies disrupted the crypto world last year, causing a mass outflow of miners.Data edited by Cambridge researchers are from the United States Currently the largest Bitcoin mining hub in the world, Accounts for about 37% of the global hash rate. This is a measure of the computing power used for mining.

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