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Proposed laws in Arkansas seek to govern Bitcoin mining operations

Arkansas has recently given their approval for two proposed bills that suggest tighter regulations for mining digital assets such as Bitcoin.

These bills, which were presented by Representative Rick McClure and Representative Jeremiah Moore, have the intention of addressing the issues raised by Act 851. McClure’s bill specifically targets noise level restrictions and limitations on foreign ownership, while Moore’s bill aims to license mining operations and enforce noise restrictions.

In the midst of the House discussion, Rep. David Ray voiced his worries regarding the noise levels and close proximity of mining activities to residential zones. He stressed the importance of implementing focused regulations that tackle these particular concerns. Despite this, the House rejected Rep. Josh Miller’s six resolutions, which aimed to tackle issues such as noise pollution, foreign ownership, and excessive energy consumption.

According to Ray:

I can’t imagine what it’s like to live next door to that facility […] We can do a better job by vetting these individual resolutions and picking one or two to refer to committee that address these issues that we know Arkansans are dealing with.

Rep. Josh Miller

Deliberation in the Senate

During the archived meetings of the Senate, legislators deliberated on the potential consequences of modifying Act 851. The discussion primarily revolved around the necessity and specificity of these modifications. Certain senators expressed worries regarding the environmental consequences of Bitcoin mining and the waste it produces.

Rep. Josh Miller played a crucial role in advocating for regulation and introduced six resolutions to tackle different aspects of Bitcoin mining. Unfortunately, these resolutions did not receive sufficient backing in the House. Miller expressed his disappointment but stressed the significance of addressing these issues raised by Bitcoin mining activities.

Miller declared:

Nobody is in more of a hurry to wrap this up and get back to work than me […] But sometimes you have to deal with things. If you don’t agree with me, go sit next to one of these residences that is by a crypto mine.

Rep. Josh Miller

In contrast, the House saw the approval of resolutions proposed by Reps. Rick McClure and Jeremiah Moore. These resolutions specifically target the regulation of noise levels in Bitcoin mining activities, the restriction of ownership by select foreign entities, and the mandate for operation licenses.

In regards to Bitcoin miners, Rep. McClure emphasized the necessity of implementing fundamental regulations.

Don’t we wish we had the information that we have today when we originally voted on this? It would have been a different day.

Rep Rick McClure

Criticism and Resistance

Although a few legislators were in favor of passing these bills, there were also concerns raised regarding their specificity and timing. Representative David Ray showed doubt towards discussing Bitcoin mining during a fiscal session and suggested a more careful approach in considering bills.

He further stated:

I think we ought to take up ones that address issues that we have a consensus about dealing with. When it comes to this issue, I think there are some things that we have consensus on.

Rep David Ray

Rep. Miller defended his proposals by stating that they could serve as a foundation for discussions and potential changes in the committee. Despite facing criticism, he remained determined to tackle the concerns surrounding Bitcoin mining.

Representative Moore, who has been outspoken about the adverse effects of Bitcoin mining on towns such as DeWitt, stressed the importance of monitoring and controlling the industry. He voiced his worries about the powerful influence of multi-billion dollar companies and pledged to advocate for the well-being of impacted communities.

Moore stated that DeWitt is a commendable town in which “you would be proud to grow up in.” He further stated:

If there is a bad actor and there are many […] How is a small town going to stand up to a billion dollar corporation?

Rep. Moore

Wider Perspective and Concerns for the Environment

The topic of Bitcoin mining is being debated not only in Arkansas, but also in different parts of the world. The issue of the potential harm to the environment caused by mining, such as high energy consumption and electronic waste, has led to the demand for stricter regulations in various regions.

Moreoever, the issue of Bitcoin mining is causing legal and environmental concerns in various countries, including Paraguay.

In order to address concerns about power theft and disruptions to the electricity supply, Paraguayan lawmakers have proposed a temporary ban on mining activities. The environmental impact of Bitcoin mining, which is known for its resource-intensive nature, has also been a topic of scrutiny.

However, studies have shown that contrary to popular belief, Bitcoin mining actually has a positive effect on the environment and can even help stabilize power grids.

It is noteworthy that the progress on the proposed mining ban in Paraguay has been stopped by senators. Currently, the discussions are centered around utilizing the surplus energy from hydropower plants for Bitcoin mining activities, as opposed to selling it to Brazil at a financial deficit.

Miners Encounter Difficulties

The mining community is currently encountering extra difficulties due to the approaching Bitcoin halving. This occurrence may result in a rise in selling pressure and a potential decrease in the Bitcoin market. Experts are cautioning about a potential decrease in trading activity during the summer as miners adapt to the altered market circumstances.

Markus Thielen, who leads the research team at 10x Research, said there may be tough times ahead for Bitcoin markets in the next few months due to a surge in selling following the halving event.

According to Thielen:

The overhang from this selling could last four to six months, explaining why Bitcoin might go sideways for the next few months — as it has done following past halvings.

Markus Thielen

While dealing with the intricate terrain of regulating Bitcoin mining, legislators in Arkansas must consider both the potential economic benefits and the potential impact on the environment and society.