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Texas Blockchain Council, Riot Platforms Sue EIA Over Sensitive Bitcoin Mining Data Order

The Texas Blockchain Council (TBC) and crypto mining firm Riot Platforms filed a lawsuit against the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday, alleging that the agency’s data collection requests from the Bitcoin mining sector are unlawful.

In a recent announcement, the EIA stated its intention to gather information on the electricity consumption of certain US-based crypto miners, starting in early February. This mandate applies specifically to commercial miners, who are required to disclose details about their energy usage. The decision came after receiving emergency approval for data collection from the Office of Management and Budget on January 26th.

TBC, a non-profit organization, raised concerns about the specificity of the data requested by the EIA, including details such as the types of mining equipment employed and the geographic locations of mining operations. There is apprehension that such sensitive information could potentially be disclosed publicly, leading to increased scrutiny and targeting of the industry, echoing previous statements made by The White House.

“This action is seen as part of a broader initiative by Senator Warren and the Biden Administration, adopting a ‘whole of government approach’ to address the digital asset industry,” remarked the council.

TBC further characterized the EIA’s actions as a “direct attack on private enterprises under the pretext of an emergency.”

Texas Blockchain Council Directs Criticism at US Senator Elizabeth Warren

In a report released on February 1st, the EIA highlighted a significant increase in annual electricity consumption attributed to crypto mining, rising from 0.6% to 2.3%. In response to this trend, the EIA announced its intention to monitor and regulate energy usage associated with mining operations.

However, the Texas Blockchain Council (TBC) strongly condemned the move towards increased oversight. Characterizing it as an “intrusion,” the council expressed concern about the escalating levels of monitoring and regulation imposed on the cryptocurrency sector.

Lee Bratcher, President of the TBC, asserted, “It’s evident that this survey is not about grid stability, as Bitcoin miners are the most flexible load on any grid, but is a targeted political effort led by figures like Elizabeth Warren.”

Senator Warren, along with other Democratic lawmakers, had previously called upon major US crypto mining companies to disclose their energy consumption. Additionally, some of these companies had advocated for the US Environmental Protection Agency to introduce regulations mandating crypto-mining operations to report their annual energy usage.

Benefits and Realities of Bitcoin Mining

Bitcoin mining presents advantages such as fostering network decentralization and creating profit opportunities for miners. However, it also carries risks that affect both miners and the broader community.

According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, Bitcoin mining worldwide consumes around 127 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year, surpassing the energy consumption of certain countries. Nonetheless, when compared to the banking sector, Bitcoin’s energy consumption is notably lower, estimated to be only 1/56th of it.

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Cryptocurrency is essentially virtual money that operates in a decentralized manner, not through a bank but directly on multiple independent computers.

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