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US to require cryptocurrency mines to report energy use data

The U.S. government will require companies that mine for cryptocurrency to report information on their energy use.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has said that starting next week, it will “survey identified commercial cryptocurrency miners, which are required to respond with details related to their energy use.”

“We will specifically focus on how the energy demand for cryptocurrency mining is evolving, identify geographic areas of high growth, and quantify the sources of electricity used to meet cryptocurrency mining demand,” EIA Administrator Joe DeCarolis said in a written statement this week. 

The survey was authorized by the White House Office of Management and Budget as an “emergency collection of data request.”

In order to introduce new cryptocurrency into circulation, “mines” use energy-consuming computers. These computers generate solutions to puzzles that unlock new cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency mining in the U.S. has grown significantly over the past few years, especially after a 2021 crackdown on the activity in China. 

A preliminary estimate from the EIA said that under the low-end of its estimate, cryptocurrency mining represents electricity usage equal to entire states like Utah and West Virginia.

It makes up from 0.6 percent to 2.3 percent of the nation’s total electricity consumption.

The EIA said that this use has led to concerns about strains on the nation’s electric grid, the potential for higher electricity prices and additional carbon dioxide emissions that warm the planet. 

The increased electricity demand due to cryptocurrency mining has, in some places, enabled idled fossil fuel power plants to come back online.

Democratic lawmakers have expressed concerns over the practice’s energy use and climate implications and have urged the federal government to track them. 

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