Judge Halts Emergency Crypto Mining Survey

Reading Time: 2 minutes
  • The Texas Blockchain Council recently secured a legal victory against a mandatory energy usage survey imposed by the US Department of Energy’s statistical division
  • The council initiated legal action due to claims of the survey being an unprecedented and unlawful demand for data collection on Bitcoin mining energy consumption
  • The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has assured the court that it will not enforce compulsory completion of the survey and will segregate any data collected so far.

The Texas Blockchain Council, which represents cryptocurrency miners operating in the region, last week won a legal victory over an emergency survey aimed at collecting information on crypto mining. The council initiated legal action against the US Department of Energy’s statistical division regarding a compulsory survey regarding their energy usage. In response to claims that the survey was an unprecedented and unlawful demand for data collection, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) stated in court that it would not enforce mandatory completion of the survey and would keep separate any data already obtained as the lawsuit progresses.

Crypto Mining ‘Uses as Much Electricity as Utah’

The EIA began its survey on January 26, writing to specific crypto mining companies in the US over their electricity consumption. EIA Administrator Joe DeCarolis said that the survey would “specifically focus on how the energy demand for cryptocurrency mining is evolving, identify geographic areas of high growth, and quantify the sources of electricity used to meet cryptocurrency mining demand.”

According to a February 1st report by the EIA, Bitcoin miners accounted for up to 2.3% of the nation’s total energy consumption in 2023. Even at the lower estimate of 0.6%, this still equates to the energy usage of a state like Utah. The agency has expressed its intention to gain a better understanding of the industry’s energy consumption through this survey.

However, the survey prompted an outcry over those targeted, as outlined in a statement dated February 22nd and the filing of a lawsuit against the Department of Energy and other federal agencies over the proposed survey. On Friday, a federal judge in Texas, where many US crypto mining companies are based, temporarily halted the survey, one day after the lawsuit was filed.

“Invasive Government Data Collection”

In the complaint, the Texas Blockchain Council called the survey a case of “sloppy government process, contrived and self-inflicted urgency, and invasive government data collection.” The council, along with industry partners, perceives the survey as an unwarranted intrusion on private enterprises under the guise of an emergency, lacking legitimate justification and demonstrating clear political bias.

The case is now effectively halted for at least the next four weeks while the suit’s merits are assessed.