Crypto’s next crisis
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Crypto’s next crisis

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Good morning! Lawmakers have started an investigation into how much energy crypto mines are really using. But banning mining in the U.S. won’t solve the problem.

Regulators, mount up

It’s well known that crypto mines are energy hogs. But an investigation by congressional Democrats released Friday revealed the scale at which mining threatens U.S. climate goals.

The country’s seven largest crypto mining companies are responsible for using a combined amount of energy that could power nearly all the residences in Houston.

  • The seven companies alone require 1,045 megawatts of power to stay up and running, according to the probe.
  • Many plan to expand much further. In total, the seven companies want to add 2,399 megawatts of mining capacity "in the next few years."
  • Marathon Digital Holdings, which operates almost 33,000 mining rigs, wants to have 199,000 in the next two years. Greenidge Generation Holdings wants to ramp up its mining tenfold in states including South Carolina and Texas by 2025.

Mining in the U.S. has skyrocketed since China cracked down on crypto mines last year. But outright banning mining in the U.S. won’t solve the global problem, Protocol Climate editor Brian Kahn told me.

  • “If the U.S. banned it, it may just end up in fill-in-the-blank-country,” he said. “It's kind of a game of whack-a-mole.”
  • If the U.S. wants to meet Biden's goal of cutting carbon emissions in half by 2030, regulation is a must.

Democrats called for a useful first step: requiring energy use disclosures from mining operations. Bigger solutions include implementing a compliance carbon market, Brian said, but we’re more likely to get a more piecemeal approach, with regulation decided at the state and local level. “But it's clear that the lawmakers are paying attention,” he said. “Bitcoin miners beware.”

— Nat Rubio-Licht

Please vote for the man we’re suing

In the past week alone, Twitter has sued Elon Musk, Musk waged a shitposting war, and Twitter’s shares went through the wringer. But Twitter wants shareholders to ignore the noise.

The company updated its letter to shareholders urging them to once again vote in favor of Musk’s $44 billion acquisition despite the lawsuit. There’s still no date for that vote, by the way.

  • The letter includes a few new details, like correspondence between Musk’s team and Twitter and an explanation for why shareholders should still say “yes” to the deal.
  • Voting in favor of the merger doesn’t exactly mean the deal will close, but Twitter said the vote is “an important and required step for our stockholders.”
  • “Your vote at the special meeting is critical to our ability to complete the merger,” Twitter wrote in the letter.

What about the timeline for the deal? That's being put to the test: Twitter wants to get the trial going soon, but Musk thinks he needs more time to prepare.

  • Twitter wants to hold a four-day trial beginning in September and wrap things up before Oct. 24, the day the acquisition is supposed to close. Hearings for the trial start tomorrow.
  • But Musk doesn’t think four days is enough time for the trial because there’s a lot of bot information to review and analyze. He wants the trial to wait at least a year, which probably wouldn’t sit well with those shareholders Twitter is betting on.

Twitter and Musk’s relationship may only get messier from here. But even through all their fighting, it’s clear that the company can’t let go quite yet.

— Sarah Roach

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People are talking

Polygon’s Antoni Martin said the crypto crash ruined some trust:

  • “It has decreased a little bit of interest in crypto, yes, that's for sure. At the same time, it's also the moment where you can differentiate between speculation and build.”

GoDaddy’s Paul Nicks said lots of people buy domains during a downturn because it’s easy:

  • “If you say, ‘OK, I can establish myself online for $20 a year,’ that's not a huge proposition.”

London Breed said San Francisco needs to make changes as workers go permanently remote:

  • “Of course I’m worried about the trend, but again, you know, this was a global pandemic where life has changed.”

Coming this week

Matthew Ball’s new book “The Metaverse: And How it will Revolutionize Everything” comes out tomorrow. Protocol’s Janko Roettgers talked with Ball about the book last week.

Devopsdays begins tomorrow in Seattle and will run through Wednesday.

A few companies report earnings this week, including Tesla on Wednesday and AT&T on Thursday.

In other news

Amazon is pausing construction of six offices in Bellevue and Nashville to make sure they’re designed to suit hybrid workers.

Grubhub’s trying to save itself. The company’s new deal with Amazon gives it an edge against competitors, but it still has to work through broader struggles with food delivery.

Coinbase got approval to operate in Italy. That's another step in the crypto exchange's push to expand to more countries in Europe.

Russia is banning crypto payments, prohibiting the transfer or acceptance of digital financial assets for goods, services and anything else.

Amazon is launching drone delivery later this year, starting with drops in College Station, Texas.

Zūm added three new executive hires: Chief Product Officer, Rohit Jain; CFO Jay Kim; and Vice President of Engineering Shiva Nagabushanaswamy.

Kim Albarella is TikTok’s new head of security following concerns from U.S. officials that user data could end up in China. Roland Cloutier, the current security lead, is stepping down.

Some fun news: Lego unveiled a new set based on “The Office."

Tech for creativity

Tech isn’t all about lines of code or semiconductors. Sometimes it’s about unleashing your inner creativity. New York Times columnist Shira Olvide asked readers how tech helps them discover life’s wonders, and people delivered. One person found an app to help with bird watching. A teacher wrote about how podcasts have been so helpful in the classroom. And another shared a new way to bond with your kids: making Spotify playlists for each other.

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Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to sourcecode@protocol.com, or our tips line, tips@protocol.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.

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