US Senators Propose Tracking Foreign Crypto Mining

The U.S. “must get a better handle” on how cryptocurrencies are used worldwide, Sen. Hassan said.

Sep 28, 2021 at 1:45 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 28, 2021 at 7:21 p.m. UTC

U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) have proposed new legislation that would require the Treasury Department and other agencies to track crypto mining and use cases worldwide.

Announced Monday, the bill would task the Treasury Department, Attorney General, U.S. Trade Representative, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and members of the Federal Reserve with monitoring how crypto is used by both governments and private entities.

These groups would also be charged with estimating how much crypto was mined overall between 2016 and 2022, and identifying which cryptocurrencies were mined. It is unclear whether mining in the context of the bill refers solely to cryptocurrency mining through proof-of-work coins like bitcoin, or if proof-of-stake coins would also qualify.

The bill would also require the U.S. agencies to “identify vulnerabilities, including those related to supply disruptions and technology availability of the global microelectronic supply chain, and opportunities with respect to virtual currency mining operations.”

In a statement, Hassan said the U.S. “must get a better handle” on how cryptocurrencies are used worldwide.

“I’m glad to partner across the aisle with Senator Ernst to help ensure that the Treasury Department stays on top of the use of cryptocurrency, including how it can impact our supply chains,” she said.

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Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.