The Missoula County Board of Commissioners in Montana, United States, has voted to extend the provisional zoning rules on cryptocurrency mining. The decision was passed in a unanimous vote on Thursday, March 26, 2020.
The regulations, which were a measure taken as part of efforts to reduce industrial waste and control energy consumption in the country, were slated to expire on April 3, 2020. With the extension of the rules, they will now expire on April 3, 2021.
Green Planet, Green Energy, Green Mining
Cryptocurrency mining is a venture that consumes much power. According to a report from a local media outlet, The Missoulian, a crypto-currency business called Hyperblock, based in the industrial zone of the Bonner plant, uses as much energy as one-third of all county homes.
The regulations aim at addressing the impacts of cryptocurrency mining, including unnecessary energy usage, noise and electronic waste. The report quoted Jennie Dixon, of the county’s Community and Planning Services, as saying that these rules may be passed as permanent depending on the outcome of ongoing investigations.
Dixon also said that the regulations should not be seen as a ban. Instead, they are the county’s resolution to ensure blockchain firms use 100% renewable energy by 2030.
The board has not made any amendments to the extended regulations, which means miners will still need to use renewable energy exclusively, as well as ensure that all electronic waste produced is managed by a specific recycling company. However, the regulations do not extend to cryptocurrency mines operating before April 4, 2019, as long as operating systems are not expanded and mining activities in existing facilities are not expanded.
New Rules For Crypto Miners
The issue of power consumption by cryptocurrency mining is a longstanding one. Miners have had to move to countries such as Iran where electricity is relatively cheap, to offset the burden of paying electricity bills. However, counties such as Missoula think far ahead than the instant gratification of mining new cryptocurrency. The effects of that much energy use, coupled with the noise and pollution that stems from crypto production, are degrading to the planet.
Therefore, in addition to limiting cryptocurrency mining operations to industrial zoning districts, the regulations require all new or expanded cryptocurrency companies to purchase or build new renewable energy sources to offset 100 percent of their energy demands.
Some other cryptocurrency mining companies are turning to other eco-friendly solutions. German Bitcoin (BTC) mining infrastructure company, Northern Bitcoin AG finalized tests last year for its new air-cooled mining container. The firm operates mining hardware using renewable sources of energy and aims to achieve optimum efficiency and sustainability.