The State of New York has banned for a period of two years part of the “mining” activities of cryptocurrencies, the creation of virtual currencies considered too greedy in energy. This is the first US state to suspend all or part of these activities. Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul promulgated on Tuesday November 22 a text voted in the spring by the state parliament, which provides for a moratorium on mining activities consuming fossil fuels.
Several specialized companies have taken over old power plants in New York State in recent years to supply mining operations. According to the specialized firm Digiconomist, mining or creating a bitcointhe most popular cryptocurrency in the world, requires about 1,150 kilowatt hours, which is the average consumption of an American household for 40 days.
China banned it
The ban enacted on Tuesday concerns the so-called “proof of work” mining method, considered the most energy-intensive and the most widely used currently. It consists of having a computer perform a series of complex calculations as quickly as possible to be declared the winner and to be awarded one or more units of cryptocurrencies. This process is increasingly being replaced by the so-called “proof of stake” protocol, which does not require calculation and therefore requires much less electricity.
This moratorium must allow time for the State of New York to carry out an assessment of the environmental impact of the mining activity on its territory. Several countries have already banned cryptocurrency mining, including China. It was, by far, the world leader in the creation of virtual currencies until June 2021, the date of the suspension. The outlawing of mining in China has led to an exodus that has largely benefited the United States, which is self-sufficient in energy and has since become the largest producer of cryptocurrencies in the world. In Europe, Kosovo also banned mining in January 2022, when the country was experiencing energy supply problems, causing recurrent power cuts.