A county in North Carolina has moved ahead with imposing a temporary ban on cryptocurrency mining. The decision was made amidst concerns about the high energy consumption and environmental impact of crypto mining. The temporary ban will give local officials time to study the issue and determine appropriate regulations for the industry. This move comes as more and more cities and states across the US are grappling with the growing popularity of cryptocurrency mining and its impact on energy use and the environment.
Buncombe County Pursues a One-Year Moratorium on Crypto Mining
Buncombe County is contemplating a temporary one-year ban on cryptocurrency mining. According to a report published by Citizen Times on April 5, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners has approved a one-year moratorium on crypto mining, and a public hearing is scheduled on May 2. The ban will commence on that date if approved. County officials have created a document that proposes to define crypto mining as a specific type of land use, differentiating it from other data center applications. However, the proposed ban won’t apply to single-device mining, only to server farms that involve three or more computers. The move to ban crypto mining in Buncombe County is prompted by potential adverse effects that it may cause, such as high power consumption, environmental damage, e-waste, and noise pollution. If a regulatory standard is developed for crypto mining before the deadline, the ban could end earlier than its expiration date of May 1, 2024.
Other Areas Worried About Crypto Mining
North Carolina has featured in numerous other mining-related stories over the past several months, with the focus primarily on noise complaints in Cherokee County, located about 100 miles away from Buncombe County. Even though no ban is in place in Cherokee County, certain groups, including the Sierra Club, are advocating for a prohibition on that practice. Beyond North Carolina, various jurisdictions have placed restrictions on crypto mining, such as British Columbia, which imposed a temporary ban on mining in December 2022, following several other Canadian provinces.
New York also applied a time-limited ban on specific crypto-mining activities in the summer of 2022. Although the ban was finally enacted months later in November, the state’s senate passed the bill. The one-year moratorium on crypto mining proposed by Buncombe County will join the list of growing bans and restrictions on crypto mining operations worldwide.
The one-year moratorium on crypto mining being considered by Buncombe County underlines concerns about the environmental impact of crypto mining operations. While such bans may hit the cryptocurrency space hard, they may be necessary to reduce the adverse effects of high power consumption associated with mining. If you operate a crypto mine or have interests in this space, it might be time to assess the impact of your operations on the environment, and seek ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your mining operation. Otherwise, more regulatory scrutiny and bans will likely result in more operation restrictions in the future.