The B.T.C.  Veterans Energy and Technology Security committee (BTC VETS) is a nonpartisan arm of the Bitcoin Today Coalition that represents US military veterans, civil servants, and frontline responders. We are made up of current and former national security and foreign policy professionals who have developed certain types of expertise within and around digital asset infrastructure and markets. We believe that proof of work digital assets are a technological innovation capable of enhancing US National Security and our nation’s global competitive advantage. It is for this reason that BTC VETS strongly opposes bill S.6486D, which is a two-year moratorium on new proof of work digital mining operations across New York State. While we oppose it on broad terms, this letter is intended only to refute certain spurious arguments made with respect to China by this bill’s proponents in the media and on the floor of the New York State Assembly as they are within our domain of expertise and are representative of the spurious logical foundation that underpins the bill more broadly.

On 26 April 2022 the NYS Assembly passed bill A .7389C, which was the Assembly’s counterpart to the proof of work moratorium bill currently being considered in the NY Senate. The bill’s sponsor repeated an argument that environmental advocates have made previously but which is false and warrants expert correction. Specifically, the argument is that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) banned bitcoin mining due to its concern for the environmental implications of the industry’s energy usage.  This argument is not only disingenuous and misleading, but also dangerous in nature, for it demonstrates a willingness to legitimize Chinese propaganda for the political gain of US-based special interest groups. 

The BTC VETS committee’s experts — including former US intelligence officers, military commanders, cyber security operators, and bitcoin mining company executives — assess that China did not ban bitcoin mining in 2021 due to any concern for energy or environmentalism.  Rather, the CCP banned bitcoin mining because it represented a decentralized value network operating outside the control of its authoritarian regime.  Moreover, China banned bitcoin mining because it is currently promoting its own Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) which, as is the case with all CBDCs, can be used to track, surveil, and control citizen behavior.  China is the largest surveillance state in the history of the world; and it uses a multitude of cutting-edge technologies to maintain ubiquitous technical surveillance (UTS) over its massive population, of which the Digital Yuan CBDC is only one.  Beijing has more UTS cameras and facial recognition software than any other city in the world.  State-sponsored apps like WeChat are used by the Chinese public for nearly every financial and personal interaction, and bitcoin threatens to derail the surveillance and control benefits that will otherwise accrue to the CCP from these apps and their CBDC. To allege that the Chinese Communist Party had any other motivation in mind when it expelled bitcoin miners in 2021 is a false argument that is largely used by opportunists seeking justification for their own proposals. 

Financial surveillance and censorship are central components of the CCP’s domestic and international strategy. With January’s successful launch of the digital yuan, the CCP has an unparalleled level of control over the Chinese monetary system. As the CCP expands its presence internationally, the proliferation of the digital yuan into other geographies is a strategic threat to the U.S. economy and the sovereignty of U.S. partners around the world. Bitcoin’s decentralized protocol is diametrically opposed to state-owned programmable money. Bitcoin’s apolitical, censorship-resistant, and incorruptible consensus protects property rights and individual liberties better than any money in history.

Bitcoin mining has the potential to fundamentally enhance United States energy security, grid resilience, and the speed with which we move through the Energy Transition. In an era of increasing energy scarcity, competition, and de-globalization, these will be core pillars of state and national security strategies around the country. It would be tragic if New York State, with its zero-carbon energy abundance and deep pool of intellectual capital, opted out of the Cambrian explosion of innovation that is currently underway in the energy industry, all because of a fundamental misunderstanding of this transformative technology. BTC VETS is willing to meet with any New York officials who are interested in learning more about how proof of work technologies can enhance renewable energy production, grid stability and US National Security. For the time being, we are duty-bound to point out the misleading flaws in the China argument that is being misused by environmental proponents to promote this bill.  We urge New York lawmakers to oppose S. 6486D.

Amanda Cavaleri, Chairman of the Board - Bitcoin Today Coalition

Kyle Schneps, President - BTC VETS, Intelligence Community Rep

Alex Brammer, Co-Chair - BTC VETS, Security Strategy Lead, SOF Community Rep

Jayson Browder, Co-Chair - BTC VETS, Veterans Community Rep

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