New York City Comptroller Brad Lander is backing a two-year moratorium on proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining in the state, pointing to the massive energy needs facing the city.
The moratorium is under consideration this week by state lawmakers as they conclude the legislative session on Thursday.
Lander, in a letter to top Democratic leaders in the Legislature and Gov. Kathy Hochul, echoed the concerns of environmental organizations over the process, which uses a large amount of energy to generate virtual tokens.
"An increase in energy demand, at a time when fossil fueled power plants need to start operating less, will undoubtably lead to a strain on New York’s generation resources," Lander wrote. "When this occurs, peaking units will be forced to come online around New York City to meet the city’s demand needs."
The concerns over the proof-of-working cryptomining process have been especially acute in the Finger Lakes region of New York, where old fossil fuel plants have been used to help generate the large number of servers needed.
At the same time, environmental organizations have pointed to the state's efforts to combat the effects of climate change and have argued the operations run counter to those goals of reducing fossil fuel usage.
"New York state is reaching a pivotal time in its attempt to electrify the energy sector, and the current proof of work cryptocurrency mining in New York state diverges from our goals by increasing our reliance on fossil fuels, thereby creating additional financial stressors and endanger investmentsfor New York City," Lander wrote in the letter.
Hochul at a news conference in May acknowledged the concerns that have been raised by environmental groups and good-government organizations, but added there should be a "balance" with efforts to attract jobs to parts of upstate New York that have struggled economically.