The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has begun a preliminary review of electricity consumption data from cryptocurrency mining companies, drawing criticism from the community.
The inquiry, starting next week, will ask “identified” commercial miners to provide details about their energy use. EIA announced in a press release Thursday that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the study on Jan. 26 as an emergency data collection request.
“We will continue to analyze and write about the energy impacts of crypto mining activity in the United States,” EIA Administrator Joe DeCarolis said in a statement. “We specifically focused on how the energy demands of crypto mining are evolving, identifying high-growth geographic regions and determining the power sources used to meet the demand for crypto mining. Quantify.”
The move drew concern and criticism from the mining industry, with some participants calling on miners to avoid investigation. Marty Bent, a Bitcoin advocate and director of the mining company Catherdra Bitcoin, said in a blog post that the EIA appears to have begun “creating a very detailed registry of mining operations” in the United States. .
“When I read the press release and application, my first thought was, this is interesting. Maybe this could be a net positive for the industry,” Bent wrote. But after digging deeper, he called the investigation “one of the most Orwellian things I’ve seen come out of this administration.” This study requires very detailed data, including specific information about mining fleets and hashrate data.
Cryptocurrency mining’s energy use has been a point of contention between the industry, regulators, and lawmakers ever since the process moved from requiring just a laptop to requiring industrial-scale equipment, with both sides expresses strong opinions.
Last year, a group of Democratic lawmakers in Washington, D.C., led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), sent letters to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy, urging the government to force disclosure from crypto miners. Ta. Their energy consumption data.
“They have pre-formatted delinquency notices in place for businesses that do not comply, and those notices include criminal and It includes the threat of civil penalties,” said Alex Brammer, director of the Bitcoin Today Coalition.in Social media Posted on X. “This is egregious behavior and requires immediate legal action.”