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U.S. Energy Officials to Destroy Data from Crypto Mining Survey After Legal Challenge

U.S. energy officials agree to destroy all data collected from a controversial crypto mining survey after a legal challenge by the Texas Blockchain Council and Riot Platforms, marking a significant victory for the crypto industry.

In a significant development, United States energy officials have reached a settlement with the Texas Blockchain Council (TBC) and Bitcoin mining company Riot Platforms. This agreement comes in the wake of legal challenges against a proposed emergency survey targeting cryptocurrency miners across the country. The survey, criticized for its intrusive nature and potential political motives, aimed at collecting detailed information from crypto mining operations for a period of three years.

Key Points of the Settlement:

  • Cease of Information Collection: The U.S. Department of Energy, the Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have agreed to halt their efforts to gather data from cryptocurrency miners through the controversial "EIA-862 Emergency Collection Request."
  • Destruction of Collected Data: Any information already collected from cryptocurrency miners as part of the survey will be destroyed. This decision also applies to any data that might be received in the future in response to the EIA-862 Emergency Survey.
  • Cancellation of Temporary Restraining Order: The settlement nullifies the need for the temporary restraining order that had been placed until March 8, effectively stopping the survey's data collection in its tracks.
  • Possibility of a New Survey: Despite this setback, the agreement allows for the possibility of a new survey. The EIA has been given the green light to publish a new notice seeking public feedback for two months on the information it can legally collect.

Background and Controversy:

The legal action was initiated by the TBC and Riot Platforms in response to concerns that the emergency survey was not only politically motivated but also posed a significant threat to innovation and economic growth within the United States. The plaintiffs argued that the survey's demands could lead to irreversible harm, including non-recoverable compliance costs, a credible threat of prosecution for non-compliance, and the forced disclosure of proprietary information.

The controversy also highlighted discrepancies in the estimated time required to comply with the survey. While the EIA suggested it would take about 30 minutes, the actual time spent by respondents so far exceeded 40 hours, indicating a gross underestimation of the survey's complexity and the burden it placed on crypto mining operations.

Implications for the Future:

This settlement marks a victory for the cryptocurrency mining industry and its advocates, emphasizing the importance of protecting proprietary information and fostering a regulatory environment that supports technological innovation and economic growth. As the EIA considers a new approach to gathering information, the crypto mining community remains vigilant, ready to defend its interests and contribute to the ongoing dialogue about the industry's impact and potential.