The White House’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget is a gargantuan $6.9 trillion tax-and-spend bill. 

Among its many troubling aspects is the Digital Asset Mining Energy (DAME) tax. The proposal was first mentioned in the Treasury Department’s “Greenbook.”

If the budget were to pass and contain this provision, cryptocurrency miners will pay a 30% excise tax for “local environmental pollution, higher energy prices, and the impacts of increased greenhouse gas emissions on the climate.” The measure, if implemented, would go into effect December 31, 2023, and be implemented within a three-year phase-in period: 10% the first year, 20% the second, and then culminate with 30%.

A May 2023 fact sheet on the tax claimed crypto mining activities result in “high energy consumption” with “negative spillovers on the environment, quality of life, and electricity grids where these firms locate across the country.” It even suggested the alleged resulting pollution from crypto miners is environmentally unjust for harming low-income communities and people of color. 

IWF Center for Energy and Conservation Director Mandy Gunasekara explained how this excise tax would do all but help the environment: 

In technical terms, digital asset miners are no different than data centers. They purchase energy from the grid and that electricity is then used to power computers. As one industry group pointed out, “there is no meaningful difference between a ‘digital asset mining facility’ and datacenters run by Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Each is just a building in which electricity powers IT equipment to run computing workloads.” To the extent there are any emissions, they come from the power generation facilities, which are already subject to a range of pollution control standards aimed at limiting their environmental impact on the air, water, soil, and climate.

While the administration continues to argue that bitcoin mining is bad for the environment, in reality, mining has no tangible impact as it does not emit any direct pollutants. The goal of this tax is not emissions reductions, but rather technological destruction. Control of bitcoin miners’ access to electricity by making it unbearably expensive is how the administration hopes to squeeze the industry out of existence.

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