Bitcoin Miners Halt Government Survey of Energy Use After Court Challenge – Decrypt

A recently launched “emergency” survey to gather information on the energy use of U.S. Bitcoin mining companies has been retracted in response to concerted legal pressure from the industry.

Last month, The Texas Blockchain Council teamed up with Riot Platforms, a leading Bitcoin mining firm, in seeking a temporary restraining order against the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) because of “administrative overreach” in implementing its planned survey.

The EIA confirmed on Feb. 26 that it would discontinue its emergency survey plans.

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“As a result… no person or entity is subject to any obligation to respond,” read a Texas court filing revealed on Friday.

“Before considering any similar requests in the future, the EIA will HAVE TO follow standard notice and comment processes,” the Texas Blockchain Council added on Twitter on Friday.

Announced in late January, the EIA’s survey would have forced U.S. mining firms to submit a slew of data on how much electricity their operations consume, with the threat of criminal fines if they refused. Details included how many facilities the operators ran, where they operated, their sources of power, and whether they interacted with a proof-of-work or proof-of-stake blockchain.

At the time, the EIA tried to push the survey throughclaiming that it was an “emergency” measure, and that “public harm is reasonably likely if normal clearance procedures are followed.”

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As evidence, the EIA cited Bitcoin’s rapidly rising price, saying that could incentivize more miners to come online, rapidly increasing the network’s energy use.

Combined with the instability of electrical grids in states like Texas during extreme temperatures, the EIA claimed Bitcoin mining “result in demand peaks that affect system operations and consumer prices.”

“While we support reasonable data sharing, this survey and the emergency justification were not reasonable, leading to an imminent threat of irreparable harm to the U.S. cryptocurrency mining industry,” wrote the Chamber of Digital Commerce in a Friday press release.

An updated version of Cambridge’s Bitcoin Mining Index last year found that previous estimates of the network’s power consumption were greatly overstated. Furthermore, several studies and surveys have estimated that the industry is powered mostly by sustainable energy sources.

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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