The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has issued a public request for US individuals and organizations to comment on the environmental impact of blockchain technology.
Make your voice heard
In their Request for Information on the Energy and Climate Implications of Digital Assets, the OSTP addresses a wide range of stakeholders, including “academic researchers and policy analysts, technical practitioners specializing in digital ledger technologies, civil society and advocacy groups, individuals and organizations who work on environmental issues, industry and industry association groups”, as well as members of the public.
Interested respondents are asked to mail their input to DigitalAssetsRFI@ostp.eop.gov, using the subject line RFI Response: Climate Implications of Digital Assets. Specifically, the OSTP asks for comments on the environmental impact of different consensus mechanisms, including energy uptake, hardware requirements, and other resources, past or ongoing mitigation attempts, future industry development, and implications for US policy.
Can mining become green?
Finally, the OSTP asks about potential energy and climate benefits that come with crypto mining. The office seeks “information about how digital assets can potentially yield positive energy or climate impacts”. According to the request, this includes blockchain use cases that support monitoring or mitigating climate impacts, such as emissions accounting, adding:
Furthermore, information is sought supporting or rebutting claims made by some proponents of cryptocurrencies that the energy used by mining cryptocurrencies is a net climate positive, either because it occurs during demand lulls or because it increases demand for renewable electricity sources.
The US is one of the largest contributors to Bitcoin’s total hashrate. However, the usage of coal plants for mining has become a fierce public debate.
Earlier this month, a motion in the EU to phase out Proof of Work as a consensus mechanism was struck down by the European Parliament. Instead, the environmental impacts of crypto mining will be reevaluated in 2025, with the goal of giving miners time to find greener energy sources.