Crypto Mining Ban Will Hurt New York and Our Environment

A two-year moratorium on proof-of-work crypto mining would have a chilling effect on the industry’s growth in New York state, Blockchain Association’s Kristin Smith argues


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key takeaways

  • New York state lawmakers will soon vote on legislation that would place a two-year moratorium on proof-of-work crypto mining projects in the state
  • A ban would effectively turn away substantial investments and well-paying jobs for New Yorkers

New York has always been an engine of economic and technological development, driving the growth and success of the United States in the process. Now, many in the state, including New York City Mayor Eric Adams, are envisioning New York as “the center of the cryptocurrency industry.” Unfortunately, it appears that the memo hasn’t yet reached Albany, as state legislators are gearing up this week to pass a two-year moratorium on crypto mining, which will drive the nascent industry out of the state and potentially worsen current carbon emissions.

The crypto industry is promising substantial investments and well-paying jobs for New Yorkers statewide. Rather than create a regulatory environment that nurtures the industry, it appears that legislators are looking to stamp it out.

After an initial — but extremely close — vote that passed the bill through Committee on Monday, state lawmakers in the Assembly will soon vote on legislation that would place a two-year moratorium on proof-of-work crypto mining projects in New York. Legislation such as this sends a terrible signal to crypto entrepreneurs and would have a chilling effect on the industry’s growth in New York state. 

For all intents and purposes, it is a forever ban on this type of mining in the state. Entrepreneurs and investors are not likely to wait two years, in the potentially futile hope that lawmakers will come to their senses and embrace crypto down the road. As more states open their doors to the crypto industry, New York seems determined to erect as many barriers to entry as it can.

The bill’s proponents argue that crypto mining projects, specifically those operating under the proof-of-work method, are damaging the environment and using too much energy at a time when prices are rising. While we share their desire to curb emissions and bring energy prices under control, the wrong answer would be to push crypto mining out of New York, which boasts some of the nation’s strictest carbon emissions standards and practices.

Even if New York shuts the door to crypto mining, proof-of-work mining is not going to be banned outright in the United States. Instead, these operations will move elsewhere, generating well-paying jobs for citizens of other states and allowing these projects to operate under less stringent environmental standards than they otherwise would in New York.

This decision will undermine the New York crypto industry’s progress and could lead to worsening carbon emissions and harm local communities that have built jobs and economic stability around the industry. There is even an opportunity for crypto mining to hasten the shift to renewable energy in New York by co-locating with renewable projects in areas of the state where transmission issues would otherwise make these projects untenable.

Legislators should take a look at the current and future real-world benefits of this new innovation more holistically. Fortunately, legislation is also being considered to study the industry’s impact on New York as a whole. Multiple bills would empower state agencies to study or implement a task force. Legislation to study crypto is even sponsored by the authors of the mining ban. Why ban an industry before you understand it?

New York has long been a beacon of innovation and economic growth, and if we embrace crypto today, we will help pave the way for it to become a global leader. Misguided legislation from Albany could derail this progress and cede New York’s preeminence to other cities, states and countries. 

This is a generational moment — let’s make the right choice.

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