Arkansas State House Passes Bills for Potential Crypto Mining Restrictions

The Arkansas State House recently passed two bills to potentially restrict cryptocurrency mining activities within the state. However, six other proposals failed to garner enough votes for advancement.

While these bills have not yet become law, they signify the initiation of discussions that may lead to further legislative action.

Arkansas Senate Addresses Concerns Over Cryptocurrency Mining

During a Senate hearing on April 17, lawmakers addressed various concerns surrounding cryptocurrency mining, including noise reduction, foreign ownership, and the proximity of mining operations to residential areas.

All proposed bills aimed to amend Act 851 of 2023, also known as the Arkansas Data Centers Act, aims to regulate the Bitcoin mining industry in the state, providing guidelines for miners and safeguarding them from discriminatory regulations and taxes.

These resolutions required a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers of the Legislature to be introduced during the fiscal session. While the Senate successfully passed all eight resolutions with at least the minimum required votes, the House saw six resolutions, sponsored by Rep. Josh Miller, R-Heber Springs, fell short of the 67 votes needed for passage.

Among the unsuccessful proposals were measures addressing using foreign-manufactured computers or software in crypto mining, granting local governments regulatory authority over mines, and imposing licensing requirements for miners under state money transmission laws.

However, two policies managed to secure passage in the House. The first, sponsored by Sen. Joshua Bryant, R-Rogers, and Rep. Rick McClure, R-Malvern, imposes noise limits on crypto mines and restricts ownership by certain foreign entities.

The second, introduced by Rep. Jeremiah Moore, R-Clarendon, mandates licensing for crypto mines under the oversight of the state Department of Energy and Environment. These successful resolutions received 80 and 84 yes votes, respectively, and are viewed by some as supportive of crypto mining activities in Arkansas.

Sen. Bryan King, R-Green Forest, a prominent advocate for regulating crypto mining, expressed skepticism regarding the failure of the House resolutions, suggesting that the “fix is in” for crypto mines to thrive in the state.

Challenges and Concerns Surrounding Bitcoin Mining

The environmental impact of Bitcoin mining is a growing concern due to the significant amount of electronic waste it generates. According to Investopedia, mining Bitcoin generates over 77 kilotons of electrical waste a year. 

Additionally, recent analysis indicates that for every $1 worth of Bitcoin created in 2018, the US economy incurred losses of $0.49, while China experienced economic losses of $0.37 for the same amount.

Concerns over crypto mining operations in Arkansas include noise pollution, foreign ownership, and potential national security risks. Despite these challenges, the legislative debate underscores the ongoing efforts to address the regulatory framework for crypto mining within the state.

Outside the United States, crypto mining also faces legal challenges. In Paraguay, lawmakers have proposed a bill to temporarily ban crypto mining activities, citing concerns about illegal mining operations draining power resources and disrupting the electricity supply.

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