A proposal aimed at boosting Georgia’s already thriving Bitcoin mining industry has collided with concerns about the noise and waste of power and water resources caused by local cryptocurrency mining operations.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Scott Hilton, a Peachtree Corners Republican, would impose a sales tax on equipment purchased by cryptocurrency mining companies to equip the centers, which would be placed in industrial zone zones. State law states that they can legally exist and prevent local authorities from entering. Clears center-specific noise restrictions.
Hilton’s efforts to shore up the emerging industry quickly faced concerns from both parties, city and county legislators, environmentalists, and state securities and philanthropy heads.
“We’ve built two reactors at the Bogle plant, but they’re using so much power that we’re going to have to build another,” said Rep. Penny Houston, R-Nashville. He added that the cost would come down. To ratepayers.
Houston said it was conducting cryptocurrency mining operations. in her rural district She exposed longtime residents to the noise, which she heard firsthand and called “absolutely awful.” He also pointed out multiple times during Thursday’s committee meeting that China recently banned Bitcoin trading and mining.
“I’ve always come to the conclusion that if it’s not good enough for China, it’s not good enough for Cook County,” Houston said.
A public hearing was held on the bill Thursday, but no vote was taken. Crossover Day, the day a bill must pass at least one chamber to smoothly advance to the governor’s desk, is set for February 29th.
Some lawmakers are still grappling with the fundamentals of what the cryptocurrency industry is mining in these local warehouses and large containers, where computer servers are always running to process transactions. There were people too.
“We’re still confused about what we’re mining,” said Rep. Dale Washburn, R-Macon. “We have a quarry in my district where we can find granite from beneath the ground, get permits, and everyone can ride horses and look at the site.”
Supporters of the bill argued the changes would allow the industry to reach more rural areas and provide more jobs. Already, Georgia has mined the second most Bitcoins among any state in the country.
Beau Guinn, field manager for CleanSpark Center in Sandersville, said his company has more than 100 employees, about 50 of whom work at the south Georgia location.
Ginn said the Nevada-based company has worked with local power companies to put safety measures in place. He said in Dalton, where the company has two mining facilities, the company has agreed to shut down in the event of a grid emergency in exchange for fixed power credits.
“We’re not just mining Bitcoin. We’re investing in Georgia’s future, pioneering sustainable energy practices, and contributing to the well-being of our communities and state.” told lawmakers Thursday.
Representatives from the Satoshi Action Fund, a nonprofit advocacy group that represents Bitcoin mining companies, sat next to Hilton during Thursday’s meeting and answered technical questions from lawmakers.
That group is Behind the controversial law The bill, passed in Arkansas, is also pushing other states to pass so-called “rights to mine” laws.
“This legislation addresses the need for rural economic development and ensures rural people have the tools they need to maintain a high quality of life,” said Eric Peterson, the fund’s policy director. It has been specifically designed to strike a balance between director.
City and county representatives opposed the bill, arguing that local authorities should be able to regulate the centers as needed. This argument resonated with some members of Congress.
“Most of the low-income areas are areas associated with industrial areas. They are already home to many of the negative influences of our ‘society’ and our ‘civilization’ as it is,” he says, adding that local zoning decisions said Rep. Carolyn Hugley, a Columbus Democrat who opposed the proposed restrictions on.
Others criticized the 10-page bill as overly broad and unnecessary. Clean energy advocates warn that the growth of cryptocurrency mining operations and other energy-intensive data centers is undermining the move away from fossil fuel sources such as coal.
“Georgia would already be the No. 2 cryptocurrency mining state without this exemption. So what incentive are we providing these companies other than excess profits?” Southern Environmental Law Center Bob Sheria, a staff attorney at
One provision of the bill also raised concerns from the head of the securities and philanthropy division in the Secretary of State’s office. Noura Zaharis said the bill would prohibit states from treating cryptocurrencies as securities, hampering her office’s ability to investigate wrongdoing within the industry.
She explained that, like money, cryptocurrencies are not securities in and of themselves, but they become securities when consumers provide third-party platforms with the expectation of a return.
The department has conducted more than 20 investigations into staking and cryptocurrency mining investment programs. Staking is when someone agrees to commit crypto assets for a period of time in hopes of earning more crypto.
The study identified more than 16,000 affected Georgia investors with more than $160 million in digital assets. Zaharis said some people lost all their savings.
“If passed as drafted, this law would cut off the ability to conduct these investigations, leaving defrauded Georgian investors with fewer protections and their savings depleted,” she said. Stated.
“However, we would like to point out that it is not our position that crypto mining or staking investment programs should be prohibited in Georgia. Not at all. Our position is that they will be protected in the same way as anyone else who invests in our platforms and programs.”