In a recent appearance at Bitcoin Miami 2023, Republican Senator Cynthia Lummis expressed her support for Bitcoin miners and voiced her skepticism about the Biden Administration’s proposed 30% excise tax on Bitcoin miners. Lummis, known for being Bitcoin-friendly, believes that the tax is unlikely to make it through the House, citing the importance of the industry’s proliferation in the United States for national security reasons.
Mining: Dirty or Clean?
During an interview with Perianne Boring, a member of the crypto advocacy group Chamber of Digital Commerce, Lummis discussed the concerns of companies within the organization regarding the potential impact of the proposed tax. Boring mentioned that their members, representing 50% of Bitcoin’s hashrate, were deeply worried about their ability to operate in the United States if the tax were to be passed.
In response, Lummis provided reassurance to the Bitcoin community, confidently stating, “That isn’t going to happen.” She emphasized the significance of allowing the development of Bitcoin technology and mining operations to take place within the United States.
Environmental Benefits of Bitcoin Mining
The excise tax was quietly introduced in President Biden’s 2024 budget plan, alongside new regulations targeting crypto wash trading and capital gains. The President’s Council of Economic Advisors argued that the tax was necessary to address local environmental pollution and higher energy prices resulting from crypto mining.
Contrary to these claims, Lummis strongly believes that Bitcoin mining is, in fact, beneficial for the environment and energy grids. Drawing on examples from her home state of Wyoming, she highlighted how miners are already being utilized as an economic alternative for venting waste methane from oil and gas wells, preventing harmful emissions. Additionally, she pointed out that Bitcoin mining could help stabilize energy grids by scaling back mining during periods of high energy usage and mining more during low-demand times.
Miner Can Mine Anywhere
Lummis also noted that Bitcoin mining could take place anywhere in the world, should federal and state-level efforts discourage mining in the United States. She referenced Norway-based hydroelectric mining operations, which benefit from inexpensive and environmentally friendly energy sources. According to Lummis, there are opportunities globally for Bitcoin mining to thrive in jurisdictions that are both friendly and potentially hostile to cryptocurrencies.
Despite concerns about potential restrictions on mining in the United States, Lummis remains optimistic about the industry’s global survival. She believes that miners have the flexibility to operate anywhere, ensuring the continuity and resilience of Bitcoin mining operations worldwide.