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Arkansas Legislators Advance Regulations on Bitcoin Mining

Arkansas Legislators Advance Regulations on Bitcoin Mining

Apr 18, 2024
Bitcoin Mining

Arkansas Legislators Advance Regulations on Bitcoin Mining

The Arkansas State House has recently passed two bills aimed at creating a regulatory framework for Bitcoin mining operations within the state. These bills, emerging from a pool of eight proposals, aim to tackle issues ranging from noise pollution to foreign ownership concerns, particularly the proximity of mining operations to residential areas.

During a Senate hearing on April 17, lawmakers expressed their intent to refine Act 851, the Arkansas Data Centers Act of 2023, which is designed to provide guidelines for Bitcoin mining while protecting the sector from discriminatory practices. However, the specifics of potential amendments are still under discussion and will be further explored in committees before any law is passed.

Despite the Senate's approval of only one Bitcoin-related bill last week, the House moved forward with two bills. The legislative action comes in response to a backlash against Act 851, which critics argue was passed with minimal discussion and has since led to numerous complaints about environmental and social impacts.

One of the approved proposals, co-sponsored by Rep. Rick McClure (R-Malvern) and Sen. Joshua Bryant (R-Rogers), who also backed the original Act 851, suggests imposing noise mitigation requirements and mandating a minimum distance between mining facilities and homes or businesses. It also proposes restrictions on foreign ownership of Bitcoin mining operations, particularly by citizens or governments of certain countries, including China.

The second resolution, co-sponsored by Rep. Jeremiah Moore (R-Clarendon) and Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain View), aims to establish a new state-level regulatory system, with state-level noise restrictions and fees. Both proposals reflect an effort to address some of the issues raised concerning Act 851, though some lawmakers, like Sen. Bryan King, argue that these measures may not be sufficient and could potentially introduce new loopholes.

Critics point to the influence of Bitcoin advocacy groups in the legislative process, suggesting that the industry has been actively lobbying to shape the bills to their advantage. Specifically, there are concerns that proposals that did not pass, such as those co-sponsored by Sen. Bryan King (R-Green Forest) and Rep. Josh Miller (R-Heber Springs), which took a more aggressive stance on regulation, were blocked due to industry pushback.

The House's approval of the two bills signifies a cautious step toward refining state policy on Bitcoin mining, but the debate is far from over. As the bills advance to committee, the details of the legislation will be scrutinized, and their potential impact on the state's regulatory landscape will be assessed.

Arkansas Times Article

Cointelegraph Article


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