The United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing on Tuesday (August 21) related to concerns about the energy requirements and the cost of cryptocurrency mining in the country, as well as the use of blockchain technology for electrical infrastructure.
It would appear that the US Senate is concerned about the amount of energy used in crypto mining, so much so that on Tuesday, the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources began what was billed as a “Full Committee Hearing: Energy Efficiency of Blockchain and Similar Technologies.”
Greater Understanding Of Blockchain Technology
In addition to the committee’s appointed senators, the hearing also featured speakers from the public and private sectors such as Robert Kahn, CEO and president of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives; Thomas Golden, manager at the Electric Energy Research Institute; Arvind Narayanan, professor of computer science at Princeton University; among others.
The hearing set out to familiarize those members of the committee with less understanding of the blockchain and cryptocurrency, using simple terms so they now have a greater understanding of this technology.
The chairwoman of the committee Lisa Murkowski said that the session would examine the advantages in terms of security that blockchain technology could provide to the electricity infrastructure of the US.
Evaluation Of Blockchain’s Energy Efficiency
The principle purpose of this hearing was to evaluate the energy efficiency of the blockchain and similar technologies. The committee also wanted to investigate the cybersecurity possibilities of these technologies for use in the protection of energy industry applications.
Also crucial to the committee was to asses if the use of blockchain applications will lead to a greater demand for electricity, and therefore an increase in electricity prices. Also, an evaluation had to be made on whether blockchain technology would improve upon the cybersecurity of computing systems currently used to supply energy.
The event was regarded as a “Full Committee Hearing”, which meant that all 23 members were present.
Energy Needed For Crypto Mining
Much of the discussion focused around the activity of crypto mining and the energy that this action entails. Thomas Golden argued that while cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin require proof-of-work in their blockchain which needs significant amounts of energy to be checked, the actual activity of mining cryptocurrency represented less of 0.1% of global energy use.
However, Lisa Murkowski countered that the demand for increased energy locations such as farms used for crypto mining would result in major strain on power grids that service providers have not taken into account, as well as significant damage to local electrical wiring. Murkowski also expressed concern that such mining would eventually result in the increase in tariffs for domestic electrical consumption for ordinary people who feel that they are not even benefiting from cryptocurrency or blockchain technology.
The hearing was broadcast live from the committee’s website, with an archived video of all proceedings to be made available shortly after the hearing concludes.