US Congress issued another letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday with more educational material on proof of work. This time, however, it came with a positive spin – and was co-signed by a handful of crypto bulls, rather than skeptics.
The Promises of Proof of Work
The letter calls on the EPA to pursue a “comprehensive analysis” when attempting to understand the environmental effects of digital assets. While the congressional letter in April focused heavily on energy consumption as a metric of environmental harm, Thursday’s message argues that the debate is more nuanced.
For instance, it claims that a “substantial portion” of energy used in mining Bitcoin is extracted from renewable sources. Indeed, according to the Bitcoin Mining Council’s estimates, about 58% of the global mining industry is powered by sustainable energy right now.
Estimates from New York – which is on the verge of passing a moratorium on carbon-based crypto mining – run as high as 80%. Despite opposing Bitcoin mining in the past, New York City Mayor Eric Adams wishes to see this ban vetoed by Governor Hochul.
His reason is the same for which Congress called for extra consideration from the EPA: He wishes not to place barriers on the growth of a new and wealthy industry.
“At a time of rapid technological innovation, we must affirm our commitment to responsible innovation to ensure future generations of Americans continue to enjoy prosperity and opportunity,” reads the letter.
The letter also argued that miners can have a “substantial stabilizing effect on energy grids.” The industry can provide sufficient demand to justify “robust baseload” levels, while also shutting down immediately during times of peak demand.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is pursuing one such strategy. To support his region’s weak energy grid, he is inviting more miners to his state to encourage the growth of power generation facilities. Contrarily, many other jurisdictions like Iran have chosen to place temporary bans on mining on a seasonally adjusted basis to keep the grid alive.
Finally, the letter claims that digital assets will be “essential” to the United States’ economic future. “The United States, as the global financial services leader, cannot rest on its laurels.”
The letter is co-signed by multiple crypto-supportive congresspeople including Cynthia Lummis, Patrick McHenry, and Tom Emmer. Lummis is one of two senators behind the landmark digital asset regulation bill unveiled earlier this month.
The Mining Council’s Letter
The Bitcoin Council also sent a letter to the EPA in April debunking claims made within the first congressional letter on the topic. Alongside mentions of renewable energy and grid support, it also ruled out the proof-of-stake consensus model as an alternative for Bitcoin.
“Given how contrary Proof of Stake would be to the objectives of Bitcoin, the prospects for transitioning Bitcoin to Proof of Stake are completely impracticable,” it read.
Proof of Stake uses cryptocurrency, rather than energy, to provide a model for determining the true state of a blockchain ledger. Some regulators still believe that such a transition can be encouraged, such as Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Rostin Benham.
The council’s letter was signed by many influential figures in the Bitcoin community, including MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor and Block Head Jack Dorsey.