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Two-Year Moratorium on Cryptocurrency Mining in New York State

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ALBANY, NY (NEWS10)–Governor Kathy Hochul has signed legislation establishing a two-year moratorium on certain types of cryptocurrency mining in New York State.

Proof-of-work cryptocurrency is work done by megacomputers called miners. Liz Moran, New York Land Justice Policy Advocate, explained how it works.

“Megacomputers run 24/7 to compete with each other to solve complex algorithms,” Moran said. Any computer that has solved the algorithm has done the work, so to speak, and can win the coin. That is ultimately why proof-of-work crypto mining consumes so much energy.”

It is that energy that concerns environmental defenders. This type of mining uses a lot of electricity powered by carbon-based fuel. Senator Rachel May, who represents parts of the Finger Lakes region, said this type of mining can affect the environment.

“There are hundreds and hundreds of small businesses that have written in opposition to cryptocurrency mining efforts in Seneca Lake because it takes a lot of water and returns it to the warmer lake, making it more likely to have harmful algae blooms, kills trout to spawn there, and it has the potential to harm things like the wine industry,” May said.

According to a memorandum from the Executive Chamber, the state will still allow permits for electric power installations that use alternatives such as hydroelectric. It will also require the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to issue a revised environmental impact statement.

However, not everyone is happy with the new law.

The Business Council issued a statement saying: “The Business Council does not believe that the legislature should seek to categorically limit the growth and expansion of any business or industry in New York. We plan to further engage them and help educate them about this industry and the benefits it provides to the local, regional and state economy.”

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