New York's Governor Kathy Hochul signs fossil fuel-based crypto mining moratorium into law

A physical bitcoin on a table

New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul has signed into law a new piece of legislation that established a two-year moratorium on cryptocurrency mining in the state. Under the law, proof-of-work crypto mining that uses electric from carbon-based fuels will be banned from getting Environmental Conservation Law permits. The legislation says that permits will still be given out to miners who power their operations with clean energy.

Cryptocurrencies tend to come in two varieties, proof-of-work and proof-of-stake. The latter is seen as a cleaner alternative because it doesn’t require energy-intensive computer-based mining. The number one cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, uses the proof-of-work model, while Ethereum recently moved over to proof-of-stake.

The new law coming into effect in New York state is a sensible compromise between reducing carbon emissions and allowing crypto mining to continue in the area. It’s unclear how much of an impact the law will have, though, as miners move around the world chasing the cheapest electricity prices to make their operations make financial sense, some may leave New York if prices get too high.

For those concerned about the impact of mining on the planet, the falling price of Bitcoin could make some miners close down operations as it’s no longer profitable for them. As this occurs, the transactions on the network will slow down as there’s less mining going on. To make transactions move quicker, people will increase their transaction fee, encouraging more processing power back into the space.

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