Congress announces hearing on crypto's energy use and environmental impact

Congress is officially looking into the environmental impact of blockchain, especially proof-of-work networks like Bitcoin. 

On January 13, the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee publicized a hearing entitled "Cleaning up cryptocurrency: The energy impact of blockchains" for January 20, confirming The Block's reporting from last week. 

No witness list is yet available, and staffers for the subcommittee did not respond to The Block's request for further details.

The hearing follows on growing concern over the rise of the crypto mining in the U.S., which has become the largest source of Bitcoin's hash rate over the past year. 

The Oversight Committee is, broadly speaking, not a place that an industry wants to end up, as its mandate focuses on reining in problematic activity. However, the state of gridlock in both chambers of Congress — coupled by an approaching election season — complicates the idea of passing legislation between now and the next congressional term.