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Op-ed: State should embrace future as nation's crypto capital

Robert Ortt

New York Democrats in the state Legislature recently voted to halt cryptocurrency mining operations in our state, and recent reports suggest that Gov. Kathy Hochul will look at the bill "very closely" before deciding whether to sign or veto it.

If the governor signs this bill, it will harm the growing cryptocurrency mining industry in upstate New York and the Empire State's emerging blockchain technology development sector. Instead of blocking progress, state leaders should be focused on making New York the nation's crypto capital.

Albany lawmakers are demanding that the cryptocurrency mining industry become carbon-free immediately (not the case for virtually any other financial sector or industry in New York) and ultimately kowtowing to far-left activists who love nothing more than to undermine our state economy in the name of their radical climate agenda. That's the crux of this bill. It narrowly passed both houses, and it places a two-year moratorium on the issuance of new permits or renewal of existing permits for carbon-based electric generating facilities providing power to cryptocurrency mining operations. If this becomes law, cryptocurrency mining firms will be forced to move their businesses and jobs out of state, which will further hurt our business sector. These firms were attracted to upstate New York because of the cold weather, the abundance of cheaper and cleaner power, and the available industrial space. If forced to leave, these firms will likely head to other states where the power is not as clean and where they will need to use more energy to cool their equipment, thus increasing their carbon footprint. An exciting new opportunity Anti-growth and poorly designed environmental policies are far too common in New York, yet this one seems particularly ill-timed and ill-targeted. Stonewalling cryptocurrency mining operations is bad for the future of New Yorkers and our economy. New York state has long been the epicenter of the financial industry and new and emerging industries and technologies. Just because a few extremists passed it in the Statehouse does not mean the governor should scare away this exciting new opportunity that could have a positive impact on our economy.

And there's a reason why this legislation hasn't quickly become law. The governor knows as well as anyone that New York cannot afford to be seen once again as the anti-business capital of America. That's especially true as our economic recovery from the pandemic seems tenuous at best—and we continue to lead the nation in outmigration—thanks to the repeated tax-and-spend policies of one-party rule in Albany. New York should be the crypto capital of America just as we are the financial capital of the world. That means working with the crypto mining industry, instead of against it, so we can ensure better environmental outcomes and protect needed private investment in upstate New York.

This is one area where Mayor Eric Adams and I agree: Veto this bill, governor. Robert Ortt, a Republican, is the minority leader in the New York state Senate.


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