The New York State Senate approved a controversial proof-of-work (PoW) mining ban bill that would prohibit any new bitcoin (BTC) mining operations in the state.
The PoW Mining Ban Bill was first passed by the state assembly in April last month. The aim is to stop any new mining operations in the state for the next two years. Now, the bill is headed for the governor’s office which, once approved, would make New York the first state in the United States to ban cryptocurrency mining.
PoW mining consensus is primarily used by bitcoin miners and is considered one of the safest and most decentralized methods of mining. However, this practice is controversial because it requires an incredibly high amount of energy.
The vote on the bill saw several senators flip from indecisive to favour, claiming they were concerned about carbon emissions.
The bill will not only ban new mining operations, but also deny renewal of licenses to those already working in the state. Any new PoW mining operation in the state can operate only if it uses 100% renewable energy.
Bitcoin’s mining consensus mechanism has been one of the hottest topics of debate among environmentalists and policymakers backed by the billionaire lobby, which favors proof-of-stake mining consensus, which is far less energy intensive. Greenpeace and Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen is campaigning for changes to the bitcoin code.
Policymakers often focus only on high energy consumption by bitcoin miners, ignoring the fact that a significant portion of this energy comes from renewable sources, especially in New York where 50% of energy is generated from renewable sources.
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Criticism of PoW mining was at the peak of the bull run last year. However, as of late last year, the Microstrategy-led Bitcoin Mining Council reported that more than 60% of the electricity consumed by the BTC network comes from clean sources.
The European Parliament proposed a similar PoW mining ban, however, amended the proposal to remove the ban amid increasing public scrutiny.
Experts believe that New York’s decision to ban PoW mining will create a domino effect and other states may follow suit. The US is currently the world leader in bitcoin mining hash rate, accounting for 38% of the network’s mining power.