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Bitcoin Mining Survey Halted US Judge

US becomes a major Bitcoin mining hub after China's ban, but now faces regulatory scrutiny. Lawsuit filed over sensitive data collection.

After China's 2021 crypto mining ban, the US has become a major hub for Bitcoin miners. However, regulatory agencies have increased oversight over the industry. Recently, a US government agency issued an emergency approval for the "EIA-862, Cryptocurrency Mining Facilities Report," raising concerns among miners.

In response, the Texas Blockchain Council, Bitcoin miner Riot Platforms, and the Chamber of Digital Commerce filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Energy, the US Energy Information Administration, and the Office of Management and Budget. This lawsuit follows the approval of an emergency survey seeking energy consumption data from a sample of 82 Bitcoin miners in the US.

The EIA's administrator declared that the agency would not enforce the survey requirements until March 22, 2024, and would not impose fines or penalties if parties failed to respond before March 25, 2024. However, a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) was granted, preventing the EIA from collecting data and enforcing the survey.

The court found the EIA's declaration insufficient and expressed concern about the lack of enforcement mechanisms. It acknowledged the plaintiff's concerns about potential prosecution, disclosure of sensitive business information, and the misleading estimated time for survey completion.

Ultimately, the court granted the TRO, citing the plaintiff's evidence of immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage if the order was not issued. It found the arguments and evidence presented during the hearing favored the grant of the TRO, as the "balance of harms" was sufficient for a restraining order.

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