Bitcoin Mining Council rebuts House Democrats in letter to EPA

Quick Take

  • Last week, a group of House Democrats sent a letter to the EPA cautioning the agency about the pollution and emissions of bitcoin mining.
  • Today, over fifty advocates for bitcoin mining, including MicroStrategy’s Michael Saylor and Block’s Jack Dorsey, have signed a letter to the EPA rebutting the House Democrats’ claims.

Over 50 of bitcoin mining's biggest advocates have put their names to a letter addressed to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pushing back on recent claims made by a group of US House Democrats.

Last week, over 20 House representatives co-signed a letter to EPA administrator Michael Regan asking the agency to investigate possible negative consequences related to bitcoin mining. The letter referenced electronic waste from hardware replacement, greenhouse gas emissions and the reopening of former gas and coal plants among other concerns.

US Representative Jared Huffman led that initiative, which garnered signatures from Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Brad Sherman among others. 

MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor revealed the new response letter Monday morning on Twitter. "We have authored a response to clear up the confusion, correct inaccuracies, and educate the public," tweeted Saylor. 

Saylor organized the response with the help of his Bitcoin Mining Council, a coalition of mining and mining-adjacent firms that seeks to push back on negative narratives in the public around mining. The group sent their own letter to the EPA today, saying the Representatives' letter is "premised on several misperceptions about Bitcoin and digital asset mining," and seeking to set the record straight.

"The undersigned individuals agree that by embracing the Bitcoin Network and bitcoin mining, the United States of America will be more innovative, economically resilient, and ultimately stronger into the future," reads the letter.

Signatories included Block Head Jack Dorsey, Galaxy Digital's Mike Novogratz, Susquehanna's Global Head of Digital Asset Strategy G. Bart Smith, SkyBridge's Anthony Scaramucci, Fidelity's Tom Jessop and Benchmark Capital's Peter Fenton, among others.

The arguments


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The letter directly responds to seven points made in the Representatives' letter. These responses mainly contend with the idea that bitcoin mining generates carbon emissions.

The signatories argue that miners utilize electricity like any other data center, and mining itself does not create emissions. Instead, goes the argument, miners primarily use power sources that can create emissions — and those emissions can be reduced or eliminated with policy decisions.

If a data center is abiding by the regulations put forth by the agency, there's no reason it should be treated differently from other power-using processes, according to the signatories. 

The letter also asserts that some claims in the Representatives' letters are false, like the claim that Bitcoin mining alone produces 30,700 tons of electronic waste yearly. The signatories argue this figure comes from a notably biased source and that the paper it cites fails to meaningfully prove the claim.

They also take aim at the claim that a single Bitcoin transaction could power the average US household for a month.

"The ‘per-transaction’ energy cost analysis is a deeply flawed way to reason about Bitcoin, since projecting future energy growth is not a function of transaction count, but instead of value of Bitcoin issuance (which is a function of price and supply growth), together with the fees users are willing to pay to transact," argues the letter.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Aislinn Keely is a reporter on The Block's policy team holding down the legal beat. She covers court decisions, bankruptcies, regulatory actions and other key moments in the legal sphere, putting them in context for the wider crypto industry. Before The Block, she lent her voice to the NPR affiliate WFUV and helmed Fordham University's student newspaper. Send tips or thoughts on all things policy and legal to or follow her on Twitter for updates @AislinnKeely.