New York State has placed a moratorium on mining Bitcoin based on unsustainable energy. This means that for the next two years no unsustainable new mining operations may be started or scaled up. It is a first in the United States.
The law, which has been championed by the environmental lobby, focuses very specifically on proof-of-work (PoW) mining that uses energy from coal and gas power plants. Such power plants have been in demand by Bitcoin miners in recent years. In New York State, these were disused plants, which miners restarted.
Incidentally, the law leaves mines that are already running unaffected, as long as they do not expand capacity. The new law fits in with New York's ambitious climate policy.
Opponents of the law
The crypto world has been lobbying hard against the law, but so far without success. Incidentally, the law has yet to be signed by the governor, so its opponents still have a chance. According to the opponents from the Bitcoin world, it is not up to the state to determine which forms of computing are allowed and which are not. What is the state's business with how a data center - which is what a Bitcoin mine is in a sense - puts its computing capacity to use?
In the process, business lobbyists feel the ban is bad for jobs and New York's position as the heart of the financial industry. Apart from this upcoming ban, New York has long been very anti-crypto, even when it comes to non-PoW crypto. Most notable is the so-called BitLicense, which creates high barriers for crypto companies to set up shop in the state. The mining ban, according to opponents, is another signal that New York does not care about the booming crypto industry.
Mining Bitcoin makes all kinds of cheap energy sources attractive. Renewable energy in particular are usually cheap. Old coal and gas-fired power plants are the exception: more often than not, it is wind farms or solar parks that are incentivized by mining.
Read more about whether Bitcoin's energy consumption is a problem.