Texas lawmakers want to block CBDC launch and protect Bitcoin miners

Senator Ted Cruz has introduced the bill to ban the launch of the US CBDC, while Cody Harris has introduced the resolution in support of Bitcoin mining.

Bitcoin mining site polluting air
Texas lawmakers are fighting against the US CBDC while promoting Bitcoin mining and adoption

Yesterday, Ted Cruz, the US Senator for Texas, introduced legislation aimed at stopping the Federal Reserve from launching a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

"No Federal Reserve bank may offer products or services directly to an individual, maintain an account on behalf of an individual, or issue a central bank digital currency directly to an individual," the bill states.

Read also: Florida governor concerned about CBDC surveillance of Americans

This is the senator's second attempt to introduce the same legislation, which was initially released in March 2022.

According to the senator's statement, a digital dollar differs from decentralized digital currencies such as Bitcoin because "CBDCs are issued and backed by a government entity and transact on a centralized, permissioned blockchain."

"Not only would this CBDC model centralize Americans' financial information, leaving it vulnerable to attack, it could be used as a direct surveillance tool into the private transactions of Americans," senator warns.

As Cruz put it, "The federal government has no authority to unilaterally establish a central bank currency. This bill goes a long way in making sure big government doesn't attempt to centralize or control cryptocurrency and instead allows it to thrive in the United States. We should be empowering entrepreneurs, enabling innovation, and increasing individual freedom - not stifling it."

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In response to the news about the legislation, some Twitter users have expressed concerns about the Federal Reserve being merely an institution granted the power to coin money and set its value, although it’s the Congress that was initially granted such an authority. Those who oppose the senator's negative attitude to the digital dollar claim that Cruz does not have the authority to introduce such bills.

Meanwhile, yesterday, another Texas lawmaker took a step to provide relief to the part of crypto community, namely Bitcoin miners and holders. Cody Harris, a member of the Texas House of Representatives, released House Concurrent Resolution 89 in an attempt to protect Bitcoin network developers in Texas from "any law or resolution that restricts the practice of securing the Bitcoin network for the safety of virtual currency which is held and transferred peer-to-peer."

To support Bitcoiners in the Lone Star State, Harris proposed an amendment to add digital possessions to Section 9, Article 1 of the Texas Constitution, which states that "the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and possessions, from all unreasonable seizures or searches."

Read also: Former CFTC chair says CBDCs should be "freedom coins"

"No citizen of Texas shall ever be deprived of their right to own Bitcoin, and that all Bitcoin owners will be protected as they enjoy all the privileges associated with cryptocurrency, including the immunity afforded by censorship-resistant spending of Bitcoin and the ability to store Bitcoin in an unhosted wallet without undue interference from any state agency," the resolution reads, aiming to provide even more security to Bitcoin holders.

Unsurprisingly, the crypto community is excited about the resolution and hopes it has a good chance of passing. However, the resolution also includes a controversial point that wants all Bitcoin miners to be welcome to use any form of energy to secure the Bitcoin network in the state of Texas.

Texas regulations favorable to crypto mining have already raised environmental concerns among lawmakers in other states. In October 2022, US senators Elizabeth Warren, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Edward J. Markey, as well as Congressmen Al Green, Katie Porter, and Jared Huffman, approached Pablo Vegas, CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the nonprofit organization that manages the state's energy market, to study the electricity consumption of crypto miners in Texas.

Read also: Texas Bitcoin miners turn off due to power shortages caused by unseasonably hot weather

"Given the impacts of cryptomining on the climate, the grid, and to ratepayers, ERCOT's support for this industry is irresponsible and highly concerning," the lawmakers said in the letter to Vegas, where they also cited Peter Cramton, former board member of ERCOT, who said, "One good thing about crypto mining is it's adding flexibility to the system. But the problem is it's consuming real resources, doing a function that has no value."

"The energy used to mine Bitcoin and Ethereum in 2021 resulted in almost 80 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Just three cryptomining companies in the U.S. that provided us with clear emissions data alone are responsible for approximately 1.6 million tons emitted annually, the equivalent of almost 360,000 cars – and these figures are only set to go upwards in the coming years," the lawmakers expressed their concerns about the ecological impact on mining on ecology.