A county in North Carolina is considering a one-year moratorium on Bitcoin mining. The move comes amid concerns over the environmental impact of the energy-intensive process. The proposed ban would give officials time to study the issue and consider potential zoning regulations for cryptocurrency mining operations. The uncertainty around the legality of Bitcoin mining in the county has sparked debate among local officials and residents.
Buncombe County in North Carolina is considering a 1-year moratorium on new and existing Bitcoin mining operations in the area. The move comes as the county’s Board of Commissioners seeks to develop standards and mitigation methods to address the potential environmental harm caused by intensive land use. The board will discuss and finalize the issue in a public hearing on May 2nd, 2023, and until then, the moratorium will restrict zoning certification permits for cryptocurrency mining.
Crypto mining, which refers to verifying and validating transactions on a proof-of-work (PoW) blockchain, is an energy-intensive process that can have a negative impact on the environment. Buncombe County’s board plans to classify cryptocurrency mining separately from data centers, given the potential for it to pose a greater threat to the environment.
This move by Buncombe County follows similar actions by other jurisdictions. In November 2022, New York’s governor ratified a 2-year moratorium on new PoW Bitcoin mining operations, while China’s government reiterated its ban on Bitcoin mining operations in 2021. The US has become a major hub for miners, with American firms accounting for 37.8% of the entire network’s hash rate today, per the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI).
It remains to be seen whether other jurisdictions will follow Buncombe County’s lead in imposing restrictions on cryptocurrency mining operations. Nevertheless, as concerns about the environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining grow, it’s likely that more regulators will seek to address this issue in the coming years. Stay tuned for updates on this topic in the future.