The Missoula County Board of Commissioners in Montana, United States, has extended its green regulations for cryptocurrency miners, which are designed to control the energy consumption of the industry in the county.

The regulations, which require crypto miners to set up their operations only in light industrial and heavy industrial districts, and only after they have been reviewed and approved as a conditional use, are now extended until April 3, 2021. 

County authorities initially adopted the rules a year ago, with a view “to protect the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare of county residents.”

For the sake of the planet

The regulations are part of a city-county resolution aimed at transitioning to 100% usage of clean energy by 2030. As such, the county board is considering proposing it as permanent zoning, local news outlet The Missoulian reported on March 27.

The board has not made changes to the rules, which means that miners will still need to exclusively use renewable energy, as well as ensure that all electronic waste generated will be handled by a relevant recycling firm.

Authorities approved the extensions after a public hearing during a commissioners meeting, where only one citizen spoke out and compared crypto mining operations to the coronavirus outbreak, saying:

"Just as coronavirus, it's a prolonged consequence where if we don't act immediately to lower our demand for electricity and introduce renewable electricity, our planet is going to be degraded tragically in the future. It is an emergency. It's just not one that we can perceive on an hour-to-hour basis like the virus."

The regulations, however, will not apply to crypto mining facilities existing before April 4, 2019.

Eco-friendly developments in crypto mining

Some crypto industry players have already developed eco-friendly crypto mining solutions, with German Bitcoin (BTC) mining infrastructure firm Northern Bitcoin AG completing tests for its new air-cooled mining container last year. The firm operates mining hardware that uses renewable energy sources and aims to attain optimal efficiency and sustainability.

In January, researchers at Ireland’s Economic and Social Research Institute proposed that using a blockchain-based “forward trading system” can provide a more effective incentive for the smart management of renewable energy consumption. The proposed mechanism includes the use of smart contracts to automate energy control, trading and management within a distributed framework.