Mississippi Senate passes anti-discrimination bill for cryptocurrency miners

By: Mark Jessy

Mississippi Senate passes anti-discrimination bill for cryptocurrency miners

February 10, 2023 7:04 AM

The bill would allow home digital asset mining and the operation of mining firms in industrial zones, as well as prohibit the Public Service Commission from charging mining businesses unfair electricity rates.

The Mississippi Digital Asset Mining Act, enacted by the state Senate on February 8, brings the American state of Mississippi one step closer to protecting bitcoin miners' rights. A related bill is being considered in the state House of Representatives.

The Senate bill, sponsored by state Sen. Josh Harkins, legalizes home digital asset mining as well as the establishment of mining firms in industrial zones. Crypto miners are already active in Mississippi, which has some of the lowest electricity rates in the US. The bill, on the other hand, stated:

"Regulators at the state and local levels have frequently challenged digital asset mining."

Furthermore, the measure forbids exceeding existing noise limitations from home mining, putting requirements on miners that exceed those locally applied to data centers, or modifying the zoning of a mining center without adequate warning and an opportunity to appeal.

It also prevents the Public Service Commission, which supervises utilities, from charging mining companies discriminatory prices and exempts home and business miners from money transmitter status.

The bill also gives the state a legal definition of "virtual currency."

The CEO of the Satoshi Action Fund, Dennis Porter, spoke at a hearing of the Mississippi Senate Finance Committee in January, where he discussed the possibility of cryptocurrency miners using abandoned oil and gas wells as a source of power. Mississippi is one of the regions in which the Satoshi Action Fund has so far been active.

Orphan wells are mentioned in both the Senate and House legislation. The House measure would create a state Digital Asset Mining Council, which would deliberate on the use of wells as a mining power source and other concerns throughout the year. The Ways and Means Committee has approved the House bill, but it has not yet been considered on the House floor.

Mississippi's legislation contrasts with New York's two-year prohibition on crypto mining, which was signed into law in November.