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Biden administration’s notorious Bitcoin mining investigation halted after legal backlash


The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has agreed to stop the emergency investigation of Bitcoin miners as part of a deal to end the lawsuit filed by several industry players, including the Texas Blockchain Council.

According to the March 1 court filing, the EIA must destroy all investigative information it has already received and that which has yet to be received. It must also sequester or keep confidential this data until its destruction.

The controversial survey aimed to collect data on the amount of energy used by miners. However, the industry responded with lawsuits, claiming the investigation would “irreparably harm” operations by forcing miners to disclose “confidential information.”

Terms of Agreement

As part of the agreement, the EIA will publish a new notice in the Federal Register to restart the investigation process from scratch – withdrawing and replacing a previous notice from February 9, which did not call for comment or reactions.

The new notice must provide for a 60-day comment period, after which the EIA may conduct the investigation in accordance with specific legal and regulatory provisions.

Additionally, the EIA should consider comments submitted in response to both the New Notice and the February 9 Notice as if they were submitted to the New Notice.

The EIA and other defendants will additionally pay the plaintiffs – Riot Platforms and Texas Blockchain Council – $2,199.45 to cover legal costs and fees.

Controversial investigation

The EIA began collecting data on mining companies in late January after the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) authorized the survey as an emergency request. The controversial investigation has been closely tied to the Biden administration’s policies, particularly the energy policies outlined in his Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

The agencies were concerned that Bitcoin mining could accelerate alongside price growth, leading to greater energy consumption during periods of high demand and cold weather.

On February 22, Republican Congressman Tom Emmer expressed his opposition to the investigation. In addition to denying that Bitcoin mining posed a threat, Emmer noted that the EIA had justified an investigation based on emergency policies but failed to introduce the required comment period.

Industry players including Riot Platforms, the Chamber of Digital Commerce, and the Texas Blockchain Council filed a lawsuit challenging the investigation, resulting in the court granting a temporary stay until March 24.

As a result of the lawsuit, the EIA suspended its data collection attempts a day later, on February 24.


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