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Arkansas Lawmakers Advance Bills To Regulate Cryptocurrency Mining

On Thursday, Arkansas lawmakers engaged in a significant debate as they considered two new bills aimed at regulating cryptocurrency mining operations in the state. 

Sens. Missy Irvin and Joshua Bryant sponsored these bills, which marked the first legislative effort to address the growing concerns surrounding crypto mining activities.

During the discussion, members of the Senate City, County, and Local Affairs Committee asked critical questions to the sponsors, seeking clarification on the proposed regulations. 

After thorough discussions, both bills successfully passed, indicating a proactive approach by Arkansas lawmakers in addressing the emerging challenges posed by crypto mining.

Credits: DepositPhotos

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The proposed bills aim to amend parts of Act 851, which was enacted in 2023 and restricted local governments from imposing sound ordinances specifically targeting crypto mines. 

In addition to repealing certain provisions of Act 851, the new bills introduced comprehensive regulations to mitigate the environmental and social impacts of crypto mining operations.

One of the bills, sponsored by Irvin and Rep. Jeremiah Moore, proposes noise limits, mandatory soundproofing measures, and prohibits the use of water for cooling servers in crypto facilities. 

It also restricts ownership of mining operations by citizens from countries listed in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

Credits: DepositPhotos

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Arkansas has become a favored destination for crypto mining because of its abundant land and inexpensive electricity. 

However, the energy-intensive nature of crypto mining raises concerns about electricity consumption and heat generation, prompting the need for stringent regulations.

Act 851, passed hastily in 2023, faced criticism as its implications became clearer over time. 

Lawmakers now seek to rectify the shortcomings of the previous legislation by introducing more comprehensive regulations addressing noise, zoning, and environmental impact.

The swift proliferation of crypto mining operations in Arkansas has underscored the need for robust regulatory frameworks to balance economic opportunities with environmental sustainability. 

Credits: DepositPhotos

The proposed bills aim to strike a balance between fostering innovation and safeguarding local communities’ interests.

While two bills advanced in the Senate committee, several resolutions introduced by Rep. Joshua Miller failed to secure approval in the House. 

These resolutions mirrored efforts to address the shortcomings of Act 851 and enhance regulatory oversight of the crypto mining industry.

Despite differing viewpoints, lawmakers express a shared commitment to finding viable solutions to address the challenges posed by crypto mining. 

As discussions continue, stakeholders aim to formulate policies that promote responsible crypto mining practices while upholding environmental stewardship and community welfare.

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