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First Texas, Now North Carolina to Ban Crypto Mining

2 mins
Updated by Michael Washburn
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In Brief

  • Buncombe County in North Carolina may enact a moratorium on crypto mining.
  • The county has an inconsistent record concerning pollution.
  • How to combat combat climate change effectively?
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Critics of bitcoin mining have raised concerns about the amount of energy it consumes and its associated carbon emissions. This has led some to label crypto mining as an environmental hazard, with North Carolina joining Texas in taking steps to regulate power usage.

But is this criticism fair? While it is true that Bitcoin miners consume a large amount of energy, other industries are often far worse for the environment. In fact, the banking industry alone far overshadows bitcoin in energy usage. Moreover, the Bitcoin Mining Council estimates that in Q4 2022, green energy accounted for 58.9% of the electricity used to mine bitcoin worldwide.

The County’s Argument

Buncombe County asserts that bitcoin mining has many negative impacts on surrounding communities in addition to energy use. Greenhouse gas emissions, e-waste, and noise are just some of the issues of concern.

The county claims that they want to prevent these consequences from hurting communities. And because crypto mining is not currently included in their zoning laws, they want to pause mining while they deliberate. They propose a one-year moratorium on crypto mining, which would allow the county time to restructure zoning laws.

They aim to define “cryptocurrency mining” as a specific land use, and go from there.

Pollution in Buncombe County

In the last 10 years, residents of Buncombe County and surrounding areas have submitted complaints to the EPA. Coal-fired power plants produced toxic water waste, and residents demanded harsher regulation. 

Even to this day, the residents of Buncombe County have suffered continued environmental issues at the hands of coal. As recently as 2018, experts found alarming levels of radioactivity discovered near the Duke Energy plant in Asheville.

“Asheville happened to have the highest level of radium of any site I’ve looked at so far,” Lisa Evans told the Citizen Times on Monday. She is the senior administrative counsel at environmental group Earthjustice. 

Only in 2023 did Duke Energy declare plans to close these coal plants and move to green energy by 2035.

An Unbiased Approach

As climate change becomes an increasingly pressing issue, it is important to consider how industries contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

Ultimately, efforts to mitigate carbon emissions should take into account all sources of pollution, not just crypto mining. Climate change affects us all, regardless of industry, and it is only through comprehensive measures that we can make a meaningful difference. 

It is encouraging to see Texas and North Carolina taking steps towards regulating the energy consumption of bitcoin mining, but more needs to be done to address the wider issue of climate change.

Commissioners have scheduled a public hearing on the issue for May 2, 2023.

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Virginia Valenzuela
An award-winning arts writer with expertise in crypto journalism, web3 marketing, and community development, Virginia Valenzuela boasts over 6 years of experience managing editorial teams and contributors. With a keen eye for refining content strategies, she has successfully developed and executed storytelling and thought leadership. Her work consistently encourages curiosity and engagement across various platforms. A sought-after speaker at numerous NFT conferences, Virginia regularly...
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