The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has published a request for information (RFI) on the Federal Register seeking feedback on the potential climate and environmental risks posed by cryptocurrencies and other digital assets.

The RFI comes in response to President Biden’s executive order (EO) signed earlier this month that aims to address the risks and benefits of digital assets – including cryptocurrencies – and their underlying technologies.

The EO tasked OSTP with submitting a report to President Biden that “examines the potential for digital assets to impede or advance efforts to tackle climate change and the transition to a clean and reliable electricity grid,” according to the RFI.

Many digital assets use “proof of work”-based systems that require large amounts of computing power and electricity, creating carbon pollution.

“Some researchers estimate that cryptocurrencies use more electricity each year than many individual countries in the world, including some industrialized nations,” the RFI says. “Thus, digital assets may present a key environmental challenge at a time when we need to shift to carbon-free sources in order to combat climate change.”

The RFI aims to gather ideas and strategies on how to mitigate the environmental effects of digital assets, as well as information on the potential environmental benefits of digital assets.

Responses to the RFI are due on May 9.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.