Bringing the high energy that cryptocurrency guzzles under greater scrutiny, a United States House Energy and Commerce subcommittee is all set to investigate its environmental impact tomorrow.
This is a significant move as Congress begins to pay more attention to cryptocurrencies and related policies. For a long time now, environmental activists have been trying to draw attention to the emissions from bitcoin mining and electricity consumption.
Per the Cambridge Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, Bitcoin consumes around 137 terawatt-hour (TWh) per year, which is higher than the electricity requirements of some countries like Norway (124.3 TWh), Ukraine (124.5 TWh) and more. This is mainly because Bitcoin requires intense computing power to mine new coins since it operates on a "proof-of-work" basis.
In a statement issued by Energy and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone and subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette, the duo have "seen a meteoric rise in crypto popularity in just a few years. It’s time to understand and address the steep energy and environmental impacts it is having on our communities and our planet."“We look forward to examining crypto mining's growing energy footprint and how proof of work blockchains, in particular, may migrate towards cleaner alternatives and renewable energy solutions," they further stated.