Biden Redoubles Effort to Crush Crypto With EIA’s Mining Survey 

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The Biden administration has launched yet another attack against the cryptocurrency industry–an environmental impact “survey” to bolster a politically motivated attack on the crypto mining industry.  

Specifically, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA  — a statistical agency within the US Department of Energy, responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating energy information — sought what it deemed to be an “emergency survey” of the cryptocurrency mining industry’s energy consumption. While the EIA’s initial justification for the survey was debunked and the emergency data collection process halted due to a lawsuit, the agency is moving forward with plans for a slower, more deliberate survey of the industry. The survey’s process, however, is still biased in that it is focused only on the costs of crypto mining, out of context of any benefits the sector provides or the costs imposed by other sectors’ electricity use. Thus, it is another weapon in the anti-crypto arsenal of the Biden administration. 

Ever since President Biden took office, his administration has waged a whole-of-government war against cryptocurrency. The Securities and Exchange Commission attempted to shut down digital assets and exchanges for registration violations in a move that may exceed the SEC’s authority, even while the crypto entities in question have been widely utilized with no fraud alleged. Treasury Department officials helped write language inserted into the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that defines cryptocurrency “brokerages” so broadly it may apply tax reporting mandates to individual crypto miners.  And in his last two proposed presidential budgets, Biden included the Digital Asset Mining Energy (DAME) tax, which would impose a 30 percent levy on the cost of electricity used in crypto mining, supposedly to curb emissions. 

Yet despite these destructive efforts, the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has soared this year. Hence, the new initiative to target the industry.  

The EIA’s ill-fated survey attempt was first announced in late January 2024, with the agency claiming that the rapid increase in cryptocurrency mining, following a steep price increase of Bitcoin, posed a potential threat to the electrical grid and could lead to higher energy prices for consumers. However, after facing a lawsuit from the crypto mining industry, which argued these claims were not substantiated by evidence, the EIA agreed to drop its emergency data collection request in early March. 

The lawsuit against the EIA was filed by the Texas Blockchain Council and Riot Platforms, a Bitcoin mining company, in February. The plaintiffs argued that the EIA’s mandatory data collection request violated the Paperwork Reduction Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. They claimed that the EIA failed to provide sufficient justification for the emergency request and did not allow for public comment or properly consider the burden the survey would place on the industry. 

Read the full article on American Institute for Economic Research.