Crypto Miners Lobby U.S. Lawmakers to Counter Environmental 'Misunderstanding'

Dozens of mining firms came to Washington to steer the policy narrative away from negative environmental claims and make a case for mining as an economic and security boon.

AccessTimeIconOct 27, 2023 at 3:51 p.m. UTC

When crypto mining is discussed in the U.S. Congress, it's often tied to claims that mining operations are environmental parasites, sapping finite energy resources. But representatives of that sector flooded offices on Capitol Hill this week to argue their businesses can help stabilize the power grid, tie into renewable resources and foster domestic technology.

Executives representing more than 40 mining operations and their lobbyists hit dozens of offices in the House of Representatives on Thursday, focusing on members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"The core message that we're delivering to congressional offices today is that bitcoin mining is helping achieve and advance America's energy security and national security," said Perianne Boring, CEO of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, which organized the Digital Power Network that conducted the lobbying event.

Last year, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) led other lawmakers on a probe of crypto's effects on the vulnerable Texas energy grid. Warren and environmental groups have criticized the sector's high energy use as a threat to the global climate.

"We have seen a lot of misunderstanding about bitcoin mining and energy policy," Boring said, adding that the companies in their House meetings shared real-world examples of the technology becoming part of the U.S. energy infrastructure.

"The negative impact of the energy usage debate wasn't as pronounced as I had anticipated," Galaxy Digital's former head of mining Amanda Fabiano, who is now an industry consultant and participated in the event, said in a posting on social media platform X (formerly Twitter). She noted that the arguments that resonated with lawmakers included the jobs mining creates and the advancement of U.S. innovation.

Sanjay Gupta, head of strategy at Auradine, a Silicon Valley tech company, focused a lot of his discussions on restrictions and import tariffs on Chinese technologies in the space. He said the U.S. already limits "access of sensitive high technology to Chinese companies," but his company's priority was "to ensure that that's enforced." Reports of China-tied crypto facilities in the U.S. have raised some alarms.

Boring said the industry is also supporting a bill from Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) that would establish the House sees proof-of-work bitcoin mining as beneficial.

Edited by Aoyon Ashraf.


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Jesse Hamilton

Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.