Bitcoiners Secure Victory in Fight Against U.S. Department of Energy’s Bitcoin Mining Order

Bitcoiners have achieved a significant victory in their battle against the U.S. Department of Energy’s statistics unit’s emergency Bitcoin mining order. According to court documents, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) has decided to drop its mandatory survey sent to hundreds of miners in favor of the proper notice and comment period required by law. The EIA had hastily announced the order in early February, citing the data request as a matter of national importance.

This development comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the Texas Blockchain Council, Riot Platforms, New Civil Liberties Alliance, and Chamber of Digital Commerce against the DOE. In February, the plaintiffs won a temporary restraining order that limited the government’s ability to collect data. The court overseeing the case noted that it was likely the justification for the original emergency order request fell short.

The crypto industry quickly mobilized to challenge the shaky justification for the bill, highlighting the potential for undue regulatory interference. Lee Bratcher of the Texas Blockchain Council expressed concerns that the data request could be politicized and lead to incomplete narratives about the blockchain industry’s interaction with the national grid. The New Civil Liberties Alliance suggested that the EIA’s report was driven by political pressure rather than a genuine desire to prevent public harm.

The EIA will now seek to obtain the data, which could be valuable, through means that respect people’s constitutional rights. It will publish a notice in the Federal Register about its proposal and destroy any information already collected. The original survey request lacked information on how sensitive corporate data would be protected or anonymized if made public, raising concerns about potential harm to miners.

Bratcher, who previously worked in the DOE, emphasized the need for a more accurate and helpful survey that considers the benefits of flexible electricity consumption by miners. In Texas, miners collaborate with the state grid operator to manage energy consumption during periods of network stress, highlighting the industry’s efforts to support greener energy production.

The EIA will open a 60-day public comment period following the publication of the new Federal Register notice. While the survey may return in some form, this moment represents a significant victory for an industry facing scrutiny from U.S. officials. Figures like SEC Chair Gary Gensler, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and Senator Elizabeth Warren have been vocal critics of crypto, raising concerns about the future regulatory landscape for the industry.