back to article Crypto miners aren't honest about power use – time for a crackdown

Cryptocurrency miners can't be trusted to give honest information about the power they use so a group of Senators and Representatives want the federal government to compel them to be transparent. In a letter [PDF] sent to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Michael Regan and Department of Energy (DoE) secretary …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    So What ?

    "Miners are using huge quantities of electricity that could be used for other priority end uses that contribute to our electrification and climate goals,"

    It's a capitalist system. The Central People's Power Allocation Committee doesn't get to decide whether using electricity for Bitcoin is a better use than Golden Girls re-runs or illuminating large black men in tight trousers failing to play rugby properly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So What ?

      "To obtain electricity, please write to your nearest politburo office, explaining your intended use for your next kWh and how it will benefit the workers. Upon successful application (6-8 weeks), your kWh will be made available within the following 2-4 weeks. Each kWh must be applied for separately and used prior to the next application."

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: So What ?

        But there would be an app for it

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. msobkow Silver badge

      Re: So What ?

      For a "capitalist" system, there sure are an awful lot of American industries propped up by the government, socialist style...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So What ?

        I don't imagine there's much of an overlap between proponents of cryptocurrency and proponents of government support for private, for-profit corporations.

        1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: So What ?

          I imagine there's huge support for it as long as the cryptocurrency grifters are the ones being propped up.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So What ?

            Please do cite an example.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: So What ?

              As the article pointed out, there has been a huge surge in crypto-mining in Texas.

              Enough said.

              1. stiine Silver badge

                Re: So What ?

                Do they pay different rates than other businesses that use the same amount of power? Where I've lived, businesses pay for a (for exampl) 500-amp service, and then the business rates for power. The only time I think it should matter is if what's being powered supports health and safety (like a hospital.)

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: So What ?

                That's saying the opposite. Texas is popular because the government doesn't intervene in power prices, meaning the miners can play the varying rates.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: So What ?

                  Texas doesn't have the power the government is selling to the crypto-miners. It just plain doesn't exist. It's not available. Their electrical grid infrastructure is both vastly under-powered, and in really, really bad condition with absolutely zero redundancy or other room for error. And it's not even August yet ...

                  Perhaps they are planning more blackouts and brownouts for the ordinary people in order to power the crypto-folks? Shirley they aren't stupid enough to think the crypto-folks will produce more power than they need, just because they are super nice and want to help Texas?

                  But don't take my word for it ... How about Forbes take on the subject of Texas power ... or lack thereof.

                  Shit, even CHINA has thrown these charlatans out. And yet Texas is actively courting them? Doesn't that kinda, sorta make you wonder WTF?

                  For the copy-pasta set who dislike blind pointy-clicky, the Forbes article is here:

                  https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidblackmon/2022/07/17/why-everyone-is-talking-about-the-texas-electric-grid/

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: So What ?

                    >Perhaps they are planning more blackouts and brownouts

                    That sort of language is offensive in Texas.

                    We refer to them as N******outs

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: So What ?

        >For a "capitalist" system, there sure are an awful lot of American industries propped up by the government, socialist style...

        It's only socialism if society benefits form the handouts. If capital benefits then it's capitalism

        You can easily tell because one is bad and evil and the other is good and what Little Baby Jesus wanted

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: So What ?

          Capitalism is a system of equal chances and socialism is a system of equal poverty.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: So What ?

            >Capitalism is a system of equal chances and socialism is a system of equal poverty.

            And that's why Russia is now doing so much better than Norway

        2. msobkow Silver badge

          Re: So What ?

          Damn! That's the funniest thing I've read all day! Kudos! :D

      3. Alumoi Silver badge

        Re: So What ?

        As it should be. After all, the money invested in the government has to pay off, right?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So What ?

      Having my parents (in Texas) die because they couldn't afford to out bid a cryptocoin miner to keep the AC on would be capitalism as well. God have mercy on your soul if that happens.

      1. WolfFan Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: So What ?

        That would be evolution in action. Crypto miners are obviously more fit to exist than your parents. For one thing, they’ve already reproduced: you. You’re old enough to be an El Reg commentard, so they are now redundant.

        [exists, with a copy of PTerry’s Complete Diskworld on the iPad in my coat pocket.]

        1. Martin Gregorie

          Re: So What ?

          I think you'll find that "Think of it as evolution in action" was a militant environmentalist group's slogan in Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle's SF novel "Oath of Fealty" rather than anything from Discworld.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: So What ?

            "Evolution in Action" is the title of a 1953 book by Julian Huxley.

      2. stiine Silver badge

        Re: So What ?

        If they signed up for 'market rates for power,' then yes, what you just said is true. Sad, but still true.

        1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: So What ?

          In this thread: copious moral and ethical justifications for market regulation.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: So What ?

            That's why Texas has it's own separate power grid. So that it can properly regulate it for the good of the people, rather than be at the mercy of those rapacious capitalists in Washington

    5. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: So What ?

      “The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few”

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So What ?

        The Needs of the Many Dollars Outweigh the Needs of the Few Dollars

    6. anonanonanonanonanon

      Re: So What ?

      This is why revolutions happen, I think you secretly want communism

    7. midgepad Bronze badge

      Re: So ...

      It is done in an atmosphere I and you share, and affects all their neighbours on the whole planet.

  2. msobkow Silver badge

    Gee, crypto miners reporting bullshit numbers about a bullshit imaginary economy with bullshit "investments" that keep turning out to be blatant theft and fraud.

    What a shock.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Everything in this story is utterly surprising: Authorities saying "Could you please, if you don't mind, be somewhat honest about your impact on residential power prices?" and crypto miners (at best) answering that they actually produce electricity (not to mention feed the whales and prevent global warming).

      Sorry folks, this has nothing to do with the capitalism vs. socialism obsession, this is simply about people doing legal things which might (or do) harm other people, and saying "Tough luck buster, it's legal". Now affected people or those with a modicum of empathy will protest, while people with stakes and sociopaths will applaud. So the question is, should the authorities do something?

      I'm part of those having a modicum of empathy (and it's quite hot outside), so I'd be tempted to say that since we're living in a society, and not in some Mad-Maxian selfish anarchy, things should focus on the benefit of the majority, even if it means some entitled jerk will have to wait to buy his second Ferrari.

      Just my 2 mW worth.

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Google

    mining operations are significant and growing, have a major impact on climate change, and that federal intervention is necessary

    Ok, but then have they considered what Google and their ads are doing to the environment? They don't provide value to the consumer, but people browsing the internet and not knowing about ad blockers are having their devices taking excessive power. Multiple that across billions of devices.

    Then the servers itself, dedicated for profiling, tracking and who knows what else.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Google

      If you can think of a fair way to make that comparison without accurate figures for either side of the calculation, then go right ahead.

      Or are you just whatabouting?

      If Google stopped serving ads, can you suggest how else you would like to pay for its services?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Google

        "If Google stopped serving ads,"

        Ads? What are these things you call ads?

        "can you suggest how else you would like to pay for its services?"

        The only way alphagoo services anybody is the same way the bull services my cows. He doesn't kiss 'em & murmur sweet nothings when he's done, either.

      2. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: Google

        "If Google stopped serving ads, can you suggest how else you would like to pay for its services?"

        By giving them money. That's how paying for services usually works.

  4. jake Silver badge

    One wonders if ...

    ... these same six[0] are going to go on and point out that Electric Vehicles are using more and more of the electrical power generated world-wide? Here in the US, some 61% of the electricity on the grid[1] is generated by Natural Gas, Coal or Petroleum (mostly diesel). When will the electric car manufacturers be similarly investigated for the TCO of the EV? At least the crypto miners[2] make no bones about their energy usage ... whereas the EV folks claim "electricity is good for the environment", without pointing out how that electricity is actually generated for the manufacture, use and disposal of their product.

    [0] Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), along with representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)

    [1] Rough 2021 stats here.

    [2] Note that I'm no fan of the crypto-fad, I think it's a massive scam akin to a pyramid scheme.

    1. stiine Silver badge

      Re: One wonders if ...

      Your EV can generate less 'bad' emission than your ICE after ~450k miles ( https://youtu.be/S1E8SQde5rk?t=655 ). This is graph to which I'm referring that includes the not-currently-counted manufacturing emissions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One wonders if ...

        Your EV can generate less 'bad' emission than your ICE after ~450k miles

        The 22 year old Nissan Micra I'm driving is heading for the 180k km mark. Although it still starts on the very first turn the engine makes, I still doubt it will ever come near the 450k, even when measured in km..

      2. msobkow Silver badge

        Re: One wonders if ...

        You mean the one sponsored by the oil industry that only includes fuel emissions for the ICE, ignoring the carbon cost of component materials of the vehicle, while including those component costs for the EVs?

        That bogus piece of false news?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: One wonders if ...

          You didn't even bother to look at the video, did you, msobkw?

          I love the sound of knees jerking ...

      3. jake Silver badge

        Re: One wonders if ...

        That's not EV vs. ICE, it's EV vs. Hybrid.

  5. Bartholomew Bronze badge
    Coat

    I'm still waiting to see this info for the digital copy protection developed by Intel Corporation

    "It is imperative that your agencies work together to address the lack of information about HDCP's energy use and environmental impacts," no writers have urged to date.

    My guess would be, that globally this global waste would totally dwarf anything else by comparison. And it is solely used for the benefit of a handful of media cartels (National Amusements [Paramount Global]/Sony Group Corporation/Comcast/The Walt Disney Company/Warner Bros/Fox Corporation/MGM Holdings Inc./...)

    What is totally clear by now is that it is nothing more than a global waste of energy, it has failed to do anything else but waste resources globally.

  6. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    " But the information they did provide reveals that these companies' mining operations are significant and growing, have a major impact on climate change, and that federal intervention is necessary"

    So, is the follow-up goal to get Microsoft, Steam, Sony, Nintendo etc, to accurately report on how much power their users are consuming while playing their video games? I would think, in toto, all of the online gaming services would be in the same "1.9 million homes" ballpark, maybe even higher. Drip, drip go the melting glaciers.

    Then federal oversight of Google, Amazon, Azure and their power usage. Hey, that ocean isn't going to raise itself.

    Shouldn't be too hard to also include sports stadiums that light up the night sky for miles. They're probably clubbing baby seals under the bleachers, and nobody knows.

    Yep, the feds really need to get on this, pronto, and get all this wasted electricity under control before any more polar bears go hungry. Thankfully, we're in a clear spot right now and nothing much else is going on in the world that the feds need to worry about besides how much power a bunch of scammy, scummy crypto-mining companies are wasting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What's your point? Feds should leave those poor unloved crypto miners alone?

      Sorry, I'd gladly feed them to the polar bears, each and every one of them. I usually don't mind waste of skin, but if they start annoying the neighborhood they really have to go. It's not all about "I, me, myself" in this world.

      1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

        My point? Well, I guess it's that with all the crazy going on right now, it seems a bit odd that Congress wants to start up a whole new Federal fight to go after these crypto-miner companies for wasting electricity, and worse that they've brought in the holy dogma of "Climate Change". I guess that's easier than going after MS, Google, Amazon, Steam, etc, that have deep pockets and plenty of battle-hardened legal representation on staff, or any of a dozen other energy-wasting outlets.

  7. midgepad Bronze badge

    This is a perfect use case for orbital

    power satellites powering orbital server farms.

    Also banishing the activity from Earth's atmosphere is entirely reasonable and desirable.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like