Congress weights cleaning up cryptocurrency mining in the US

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 The “Sandow Switch” that once was used by the Alcoa coal power plant now provides electricity for the Whinstone US Bitcoin mining facility in Rockdale, Texas, on October 9, 2021.  | Photo by MARK FELIX/AFP /AFP via Getty Images

On Thursday, members of Congress debated how to make cryptocurrencies greener, as energy-intensive bitcoin mining booms in the US. One of the biggest questions was whether to use renewables to power the energy-hungry mining at the heart of bitcoin’s blockchain, or turn to other blockchains that don’t need as much energy in the first place.

The debate took place during an oversight hearing on the “energy impacts of cryptocurrency” held by the House Energy & Commerce Committee. The US became the de facto epicenter for bitcoin mining last year, after China clamped down on mining within its borders — in part because of how much energy bitcoin uses. That transition could have big implications for the already strained power grid in the US, as…

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Author: Justine Calma