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Rallying Against New York Bitcoin Mining Moratorium

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“This (Bitcoin) isn’t going to stop. Crypto mining may move somewhere where there is little or no concern for the environment.” –Ken Pokalsky, Vice-President of The Business Council of New York State

Pokalsky’s words echoed the sentiments of the half dozen speakers assembled at the New York State Capitol in Albany on May 2, 2022. Gathered on the Capitol’s famed “Million Dollar Staircase” were state legislators, Bitcoin industry leaders and advocates for technology jobs. The occasion was to urge Governor Kathy Hochul and the State Senate to oppose a two-year moratorium on proof-of-work mining. The bill has already passed the State Assembly.

The bill that passed the Assembly would impose a two-year ban on proof-of-work mining unless done with 100% renewable energy sources. Though much mining in the state is done with hydroelectric power, the ban would effectively shut down many mining facilities and halt any new applications for two years. From the text of the bill, “This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to all permits or renewal applications filed after such date.”

It is important to note that facilities that applied and whose applications have been deemed complete would be grandfathered in and thus exempt form the new bill. One such facility is the Greenidge operation on Seneca Lake in upstate New York. Greenidge completed a conversion of the plant from coal to natural gas back in 2017. 

Both houses of the legislature and the governor’s chair are controlled by Democrats, so the environment is surely one of their biggest concerns.

The event was organized by Foundry Services of Rochester, New York. Foundry is a Digital Currency Group company, focused on mining, equipment sales, financing and staking services. The press conference, hailed by organizers as a “rally/protest,” drew only a couple of dozen supporters and a few legislators. The event was moderated by Cleve Mesidor, executive director of the Blockchain Foundation.

Assembly Member Clyde Vanel, representing the 33rd District in Queens, stated that while his party cares about the environment, they also care about jobs and good salaries. It was a theme touched on by many of the speakers.

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