Seven of the largest Bitcoin mining companies in the United States are set up to use nearly as much electricity as the homes in Houston, according to data disclosed Friday as part of an investigation by congressional Democrats who say miners should be required to report their energy use.
The United States has seen an influx of cryptocurrency miners, who use powerful, energy-intensive computers to create and track the virtual currencies, after China cracked down on the practice last year. Democrats led by Senator Elizabeth Warren are also calling for the companies to report their emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that is the main driver of climate change.
“This limited data alone reveals that cryptominers are large energy users that account for a significant — and rapidly growing — amount of carbon emissions,” Sen. Warren and five other members of Congress wrote in a letter to the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy. “But little is known about the full scope of cryptomining activity,” they wrote.
Research has shown that a surge in cryptomining is also significantly raising energy costs for local residents and small businesses, and has added to the strain on the power grid in states like Texas, the letter noted. [Continue reading…]