February 26, 2024

Cryptocurrency Firm Loses Bid Against B.C. Hydro Power Connection Pause

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A cryptocurrency firm’s attempt to compel B.C. Hydro to provide substantial power for its operations has been thwarted in a recent court ruling, affirming the provincial government’s authority to halt power connections for new crypto miners. Conifex Timber Inc., originally a forestry company that expanded into cryptocurrency mining, sought to challenge the government’s decision to suspend new connections for crypto mining for 18 months.

Justice Michael Tammen, in a ruling issued on Friday, deemed the government’s move in December 2022 as reasonable and not unduly discriminatory. B.C. Hydro CEO Christopher O’Riley highlighted in an affidavit that Conifex’s proposed data centers would have consumed a staggering 2.5 million megawatt-hours of electricity annually—equivalent to powering and heating over 570,000 apartments.

Energy Minister Josie Osborne justified the policy by noting that cryptocurrency mining utilizes “massive amounts of electricity” to operate high-powered computers continuously, contributing “very few jobs” to the local economy. The policy aims to address the energy consumption and environmental impact associated with Bitcoin and other crypto mining activities.

Conifex Timber expressed disappointment with the court’s decision and is contemplating an appeal. In a released statement, the company argued that the provincial government is missing opportunities to enhance energy affordability, accelerate technological innovation, strengthen power distribution grid reliability, and achieve more inclusive economic growth.

The ruling underscores the ongoing debate around the energy consumption and environmental implications of cryptocurrency mining. It also sheds light on the issue of global inclusion, where only a select few have access to the resources for mining cryptocurrencies, utilizing an extreme amount of energy resources in the process. The move towards more energy-efficient consensus mechanisms, such as Proof of Stake and Proof of Time, provides potential solutions to address these concerns. Ethereum’s transition to Proof of Stake and the use of the Proof of Time consensus mechanism by the Pecu Novus blockchain exemplify efforts to create more sustainable and inclusive models in the cryptocurrency space.

Digital Assets Desk

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