Bitcoin mining primarily exists to build a global digital network to store value without the need for a bank or other middleman, and for peer-to-peer exchanges. It is also one of the most environmentally friendly industries in the world.
The Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance estimates that Bitcoin mining uses less than 0.2% of the world’s energy production, which is roughly comparable to all refrigerators in the United States and far less than data centers and data networks in general.
In other words, it uses a very small amount of energy in the grand scheme of things – and almost 60% of what it uses comes from renewable sources, according to data published by the Chamber of Digital Commerce. Bitcoin mining also helps create a market for intermittent sources such as solar and wind power during their off-peak hours.
Additionally, unlike other data centers, mining facilities may close at any time during high-demand events such as extreme weather conditions to ensure grid stability and prevent the use of fossil fuel-fired peaking plants.
Yet the current administration, fringe politicians and environmental groups are targeting Bitcoin mining by attempting to limit access to energy and by imposing or proposing taxes so high that the industry will always have reasons. to leave the United States altogether. And that’s assuming they don’t try to ban it altogether.
These critics are now citing “marginal emissions” data, which just picks companies they don’t like for political reasons, and say those companies are consuming too much energy. To be clear, Bitcoin mining emits nothing – it requires computers, which use electricity like any other data center.
To say that these political proposals and their tortured justifications are wrong would be the best reading possible. Their effects would be devastating to the environment, economy, and national security of the United States.
Compared to other major Bitcoin mining jurisdictions, the United States has an extremely clean energy network. Texas is a leader in Bitcoin mining and the headquarters of operations for Riot Platforms, the largest Bitcoin mine in North America. According to the American Clean Power AssociationTexas led the nation in renewable energy capacity added in 2021, nearly three times that of second-place California.
Pushing Bitcoin mining overseas, under the guise of environmentalism, would only mean that the United States will capture less value from Bitcoin, and more mining will be connected to dirtier energy grids around the world. more hostile regions of the world. For example, Russia is not only infamous for producing fossil fuels and using energy for political purposes, but it is among the world leaders when it comes to leaking methane into the atmosphere. It is already among the top five Bitcoin mining jurisdictions and is looking to increase its market share. Weakening the US bitcoin mining industry would be a huge boon to Russia and increase global carbon emissions.
This brings us to the issue of national security. As noted in a recent Justice Department report on cryptocurrencies, America has strong anti-money laundering rules and ensures that when people move Bitcoin value from the network in and out of traditional accounts, it is traceable – bad actors can be caught, unlike other parts of the world. Russia, for example, is a global leader in ransomware attacks and cryptocurrency abuse, as well as traditional financial intermediaries. Keeping Bitcoin mining in America means that more value will be captured by highly regulated American companies and law-abiding individuals who are simply interested in the option of storing and transferring value.
Bitcoin mining has created thousands of jobs. Riot alone employs about 500 people, many of them in Rockdale, Texas, a community that previously suffered from the closure of a large industrial aluminum smelter. Riot is now helping support a program with Texas State Technical College to upskill the local workforce with computer repair and programming programs.
Bitcoin mining is a booming industry that is good for the environment, the economy, and national security. Attacks by nefarious political forces must be resisted to maintain America’s leadership role in the digital economy.
Jason Les is the CEO of Riot Platforms, Inc., the largest publicly traded bitcoin mining company in North America by market capitalization. Brian Morgenstern is Riot’s head of public policy and served as senior adviser and deputy assistant secretary to the Treasury from 2017-2020. The opinions expressed in Fortune.com comments are solely the opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of Fortune.