Credits: Cryptoslate

Mississippi approved bill to protect Bitcoin miners

The Mississippi senate has taken a significant step in supporting the growth of Bitcoin mining in the state. The newly passed “Right to Mine” bill will protect Bitcoin miners from discrimination and recognizes the potential of the activity to drive economic growth and stabilize the energy grid.

Senator Josh Harkins, the sponsor of the bill, utilized language from the Satoshi Action Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating lawmakers and regulators on the benefits of Bitcoin. The new law makes it illegal to discriminate against energy rates for Bitcoin miners and prohibits the activity from being considered money transmitting.

The senate bill, authored by state Sen. Josh Harkins, legalizes home digital asset mining and the operation of mining businesses in areas zoned for industrial use. There are already crypto miners operating in Mississippi, which has some of the lowest electricity rates in the country.

Mississippi passes law protecting Bitcoin miners from discrimination
credits: Finbold

Home mining beyond existing limits, imposing requirements on miners beyond those locally applied to data centers or changing the zoning of a mining center without proper notification and an opportunity to appeal. It prohibits the Public Service Commission from imposing discriminatory rates on mining businesses and exempts home and business miners from money transmitter status.

The bill also provides the state with a legal definition of “virtual currency.” Mississippi is one of the states where the Satoshi Action Fund has been active. Fund CEO Dennis Porter spoke at a meeting of the Mississippi Senate Finance Committee in January and mentioned the potential for crypto miners to use orphaned oil and gas wells as a power source.

However, there remains contention regarding the possible energy consumption by mining operations and its impact on the environment. Democratic leaders are therefore pushing environment regulatory agencies to compel mining operators to disclose their power consumption and pollution.

Mississippi Missouri Bills To Protect Bitcoin
Credits: Bitcoin Mgazine

At the same time, a section of lawmakers recognizes Bitcoin’s ability to serve as a form of currency. In particular, Arizona’s senate recently introduced a bill seeking to declare Bitcoin a legal tender. If the bill passes, state agencies will leverage cryptocurrencies to pay taxes and fines, among others.

China’s ban on mining activities helped to speed up the concentration of Bitcoin miners in the U.S. A Report revealed that two mining pools in the U.S. (Foundry and Antpool) control over 51% of the global hash rate. Over the years, Texas has remained a choice destination for miners, with about 30 mining companies reportedly operating in the state.

However, some U.S. lawmakers are pushing to have mining operators disclose their power consumption rate to regulatory agencies. Anti-crypto lawmaker Elizabeth Warren had initiated a probe against the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) for allegedly paying miners to offset energy load.