Greenhouse

The big White House report on crypto's environmental impact puts executive action on the table

Friday, September 9, 2022 by Robinhood Snacks |
A peek into crypto mining (Lars Hagberg/Getty Images)

A peek into crypto mining (Lars Hagberg/Getty Images)

Cleaning up your act… can get messy. Yesterday the White House released a major report on the environmental impact of crypto mining, and the message was clear: shape up. The report, commissioned in March, calls out energy-intensive crypto (like: proof-of-work bitcoin) and says the industry should collab with environmental and energy regulators to develop clean standards. If that fails, the report says the admin should consider exec action. The dirty US crypto facts:

  • Ctrl+Altcoin+Del: Crypto's energy usage = all home computers.
  • Ethaust: Crypto emissions = railroad's diesel-fuel emissions.
  • Americoin: The US is home to 38% of global bitcoin mining, thanks in part to giants like Riot Blockchain and Marathon Digital. Both stocks popped 14% yesterday.

When you finish chores early… President Biden's crypto-climate report dropped just a week before the ethereum Merge (a shift from power-hungry proof of work to energy-efficient proof of stake) is set to overhaul the second-largest crypto, ethereum. But other proof-of-work cryptos like bitcoin still have a long list of chores to tackle to appease the current admin.

  • If the collab model fails, the report says Congress should “consider legislation to limit or eliminate the use of high energy intensity consensus mechanisms” for crypto mining.
THE TAKEAWAY

Self-regulation could be the best regulation… for the crypto industry. The Biden admin's push for cleaner crypto operations suggests the status quo is a no-go. But its openness to collabing with industry titans also suggests that crypto might come out of this smiling. Meanwhile, the Merge could demonstrate that ethereum can change all on its own, without the force of regulation. Whether the rest of crypto follows suit could determine the admin’s next steps.