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Ethereum founder criticizes New York’s Bitcoin mining moratorium: ‘I oppose banning proof of work’

June 6, 2022, 4:45 PM UTC

A Bitcoin mining ban? Not quite, but still not a good idea, says one of the most prominent voices in crypto.

On Friday, New York State Senate lawmakers passed a bill that will halt permits for new cryptocurrency mining facilities that use carbon-based fuel, due to environmental concerns. 

Widely and inaccurately reported as a ban on Bitcoin mining, the bill still awaits the signature of Governor Kathy Hochul. If it becomes law, it will impose a two-year moratorium on cryptocurrency mining operations that use proof of work (PoW) to validate transactions. Whatever the nature of this ban, it was not well-received by the cryptocurrency community, including Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin

Buterin retweeted Bruce Fenton, the former executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation, who is running for New Hampshire Senate, and noted that he agreed with Fenton’s tweet, which said: “No government has the right to tell you what software to run.”

“I oppose banning PoW,” Buterin tweeted on Saturday

Under PoW, cryptocurrency miners race to solve complex puzzles to validate transactions, a process that requires a lot of equipment and computer power. Bitcoin and Ethereum currently use PoW, but Ethereum plans to shift to a different, more energy-efficient method this summer.

Though Buterin supports Ethereum’s move away from PoW, he said on Twitter that it’s “a bad idea” for the government to be “picking and choosing which specific applications are an okay use of electricity or not.”

Rather than ban new PoW-run projects, it’s “better to just implement carbon pricing, and use some of the revenues to compensate low-income users,” Buterin said.

While the Senate voted 36–27 to pass the bill and send it to Gov. Hochul’s desk, mining companies have threatened to leave New York if the moratorium is signed into law.

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