New York State Assembly Passed a two-year Moratorium on Bitcoin Mining

Key Take-Aways

  • Anna Kelles’ bill would impose a two-year ban on crypto mining in New York. 
  • Cryptocurrency mining consumes enormous amounts of energy to validate digital currency transactions.
  • Critics are concerned that the plan will drive tech companies out of New York and force them to shift work elsewhere.
  • Large-scale crypto mining would be prohibited in decommissioned fossil-fuel power facilities under the proposed legislation.

The New York State Assembly passed a two-year moratorium on Bitcoin mining on Tuesday evening, awaiting an assessment of the environmental consequences. According to John Olsen, the New York state director for the crypto lobbying group Blockchain Association, the bill might be submitted to the New York Assembly as soon as this week.

The bill will now be heard in the Democratic-controlled State Senate. If passed, it will almost definitely be the most comprehensive piece of legislation of its sort in the world.

“My measure does not prohibit the use of Bitcoin,” Kelles tweeted on Monday. “There isn’t even a ban on bitcoin mining.” It would not impede people’s ability in [New York] to buy, sell, invest in, or use cryptocurrencies.”

Greenidge Generation was purchased by Atlas Holdings in 2014 and converted from coal to natural gas. In 2021, the company began mining bitcoin with the generated power. It now has a capacity of 19 megawatts, with intentions to increase it to 85 megawatts by the end of the year.

Separate legislation would target bitcoin scammers, according to Senator Kevin Thomas (D-Nassau) and Assemblyman Clyde Vanel (D-Queens).

The bill alters the penal law in New York to make “rug pulls” and other digital asset scams criminal offenses, with the purpose of strengthening consumer protection by providing prosecutors with a legal foundation for prosecuting crypto crimes.

Rug pulls are a sort of internet fraud in which consumers are misled into investing in a bogus project or digital currency.

“New York is the global financial system’s and a developing bitcoin industry’s core,” Sen. Kevin Thomas stated. “This forward-thinking law will safeguard consumers, improve the security and dependability of the crypto ecosystem, and provide clearer guidance to allow businesses to innovate and succeed in the crypto economy.”

If passed, the bill would only affect “consolidated mining operations in power producers employing fossil-fuel-based energy behind the meter,” according to Kelles on Twitter.  

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Baisakhi Mishra