New York legislators face off over mining moratorium during Coinbase town hall

New York Governor Hochul’s staff say the state’s crypto industry was “dishonest” in saying the mining ban was an attack on the industry


corlaffra/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


Coinbase’s first crypto policy town hall, held in New York City on Thursday, diverged into a debate over the state’s crypto mining policies. The tension escalated as policymakers clashed over New York’s new ban on certain mining practices.

In November 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed off on a two-year moratorium on fossil-fuel powered proof-of-work mining facilities in the state. The bill was controversial from the time it was introduced, with advocates citing environmental concerns associated with mining and adversaries pointing to stifled innovation and job losses.

The discourse around cryptocurrency in the New York state legislature was quite positive until environmentalists got involved, Diane Savino, former New York state senator and current senior adviser to New York City Mayor Eric Adams, said during the town hall

“In one year’s time, all of [our productive conversations] went down the toilet because people were terrified of being considered anti-environment,” Savino said. “Environmental advocates are incredibly organized…With that, I lost half the support I had on the bills on blockchain and they never moved in the assembly as a result of that.” 

Micah Lasher, who serves as director of policy for Hochul, disagreed, arguing that the industry was being more deceitful than environmental activists. 

“I don’t think the environmentalists were intellectually dishonest,” Lasher said. “I think there was a fair amount of intellectual dishonesty by the industry that made a strategic mistake in suggesting that that bill was equal to an attack on crypto as a general matter.” 

The moratorium targets only certain miners using certain forms of energy, Lasher said, so to say the law limits the entire industry is unfounded. 

“That subset of the subset had enormously deleterious environmental impacts, that was true,” he said. “I don’t think the industry does itself any favors when it takes that issue and frames it as an existential one for financial innovation in the state of New York.”

Still, Savino said, the moratorium bill was a prime example of lawmakers stepping back from crypto over fear of going against environmentalists. 

“[Environment Advocates Action] does an annual list of ‘friends’ of the environment and ‘enemies,’ and the worst enemies get the oil slick award,” Savino said. “No elected official wants to see that go out because it’s mailed to their constituents, so that’s one of the reasons why the crypto mining moratorium went as far as it did in such a short period of time.” 

The law threatens economic expansion in the state, particularly in communities with limited growth opportunities, according to Clyde Vanel, assemblymember for New York’s 33rd district. 

“​​In factories that were closed for generations, people were working, getting three times the average wage in the area,” Vanel said of the crypto mining operations, which he visited in 2020. “That was happening in different pockets around the state, where it’s a challenge for economic activity.” 

All industries, including crypto, need to think about how to reduce their carbon footprint, Vanel added, but shutting down operations for two years was not the answer. The moratorium will expire in 2024, although there may be efforts in the Assembly or Senate to extend or expand the ban. 

The town hall, hosted in New York City Thursday, is part of a new series dubbed “stand with crypto.” Coinbase said it will host similar events around the country in an effort to advance conversations between industry members and legislators.

Start your day with top crypto insights from David Canellis and Katherine Ross. Subscribe to the Empire newsletter.

The Lightspeed newsletter is all things Solana, in your inbox, every day. Subscribe to daily Solana news from Jack Kubinec and Jeff Albus.


Upcoming Events

Salt Lake City, UT

MON - TUES, OCT. 7 - 8, 2023

Blockworks and Bankless in collaboration with buidlbox are excited to announce the second installment of the Permissionless Hackathon – taking place October 7-8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ve partnered with buidlbox to bring together the brightest minds in crypto for […]

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Research Report Cover Vertex.jpg


The proliferation of new perp DEXs has led to fragmented liquidity across various DEXs and chains. Vertex, known for its vertically-integrated DEX that includes spot, perpetual, and integrated money markets, is now tackling cross-chain liquidity fragmentation through horizontal integration with the launch of new Edge instances. Vertex's integrated offerings and cross-margined account structure amplify the benefits of new instances: native cross-chain spot trading, optimized cross-chain basis trading, consistent interest rates, reduced bridging friction, and more.


Partnering with EtherFi and Angle, the fully on-chain perp DEX features bespoke collateral



Gavin Wood introduced the next evolutionary step for the Polkadot network: the Join-Accumulate Machine, or JAM


The side events were the places to be at Consensus 2024, according to attendees


Also, who’s come out swinging in the spot ether ETF fee war — and who could undercut them


I know it is not in their nature, but US regulators could learn a lot by researching the digital asset frameworks that overseas regulators have already gotten right


Also, the ETF hype train can count out at least one member