NY gov signs novel law that limits cryptomining, for now

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. tap the brakes / tæp ðə breɪks / (idiom) – to slow down or stop something

    My company tapped the brakes on producing some products with low sales.

  2. scrutiny / ˈskrut n i / (n.) – a careful examination or investigation of something

    The CEO was put under scrutiny after he was caught misusing funds.

  3. crimp / krɪmp / (v.) – to restrict or reduce

    The lack of funds crimped the project’s development.

  4. single out / ˈsɪŋ gəl aʊt / (idiom) – to treat someone or something in the group with special attention or with criticism

    The whole class was involved in cheating, so it’s not fair to single out just a few students.

  5. reliance / rɪˈlaɪ əns / (n.) – the state of depending on something

    The country’s reliance on tourism made a big impact on its economy when the pandemic hit.


Read the text below.

New York is taking a first-in-the-nation step to tap the brakes on the spread of cryptocurrency mining, under legislation that Gov. Kathy Hochul signed.

The measure comes amid growing scrutiny of the cryptocurrency industry following last month’s collapse of the FTX exchange. But New York’s measure, which passed the state Legislature in June, is specifically concerned with the environmental aspects of crypto.

“I will ensure that New York continues to be the center of financial innovation, while also taking important steps to prioritize the protection of our environment,” Hochul, a Democrat, said in a message explaining her approval.

The new law sets a two-year moratorium on new and renewed air permits for fossil fuel power plants used for energy-intensive “proof-of-work” cryptocurrency mining — a term for the computational process that records and secures transactions in bitcoin and similar forms of digital money. Proof-of-work is the blockchain-based algorithm used by bitcoin and some other cryptocurrencies.

The law also requires the Department of Environmental Conservation to assess how cryptomining affects the state’s ability to meet its climate goals.

Environmentalists said New York was undermining those goals by letting cryptomining operations run their own natural gas-burning power plants.

Cryptocurrency advocates, meanwhile, argued that the measure would crimp New York’s economic development, and singled out crypto while not addressing other fossil fuel use.

Cryptocurrency mining requires specialized computers that consume large amounts of energy. One study calculated that as of November 2018, bitcoin’s annual electricity consumption was comparable to Hong Kong’s in 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Some miners are looking for ways to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels to produce the necessary electricity.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Is cryptocurrency something you’d like to own despite the issues raised in the article? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Hochul said that she will ensure that New York continues to be the center of financial innovation while also protecting the environment. Which do you think should be prioritized, digitalization/financial innovation or the environment? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • The new law sets a two-year moratorium on power plants used for cryptomining. Do you think this is enough or should energy-intensive cryptomining be stopped completely? Why? Discuss.
  • Do you think other industries that have a huge environmental impact, like smartphones that use a lot of precious metals and cloud servers that use up a lot of energy, should also be limited? Why or why not? Discuss.