This legislative session has witnessed a surge of interest among state lawmakers in cryptocurrency, with several bills being proposed to facilitate crypto mining, establish a gold-backed Texas digital currency, and formally embrace the BTC economy in the state.
On Monday, State Representative Cody Harris, hailing from Palestine and belonging to the Republican party, introduced a resolution in the Legislature to safeguard Texans’ accessibility to Bitcoin. House Concurrent Resolution 89 characterizes BTC as a secure network for peer-to-peer transactions and acknowledges its contribution to several technological advancements.
Bitcoin has gained widespread popularity as a digital currency, and Texas accounts for around twenty-five percent of all mining activities in the United States. According to the resolution, the Chinese government’s 2021 decision to ban cryptocurrency mining sparked a significant migration of mining operations to Texas, dubbed the prodigious mining movement.
Although other states have attempted to prohibit or temporarily halt Bitcoin mining, Representative Harris believes these miners’ actions must be safeguarded under the Constitution of Texas.
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Representative Harris’ House Concurrent Resolution 89 urges the Legislature to show its endorsement for safeguarding individuals who engage in coding or development on the BTC network following Section 8, Article 1 of the Texas Constitution. This constitutional provision asserts that everyone can express their thoughts and opinions in writing, speech, or publication.
The resolution also proposes that any law or resolution which restricts the ability of individuals mining BTC in Texas should not impede their activities. Additionally, according to Harris’ resolution, BTC miners should be free to seek any energy source that can aid in securing their network within the state of Texas.
Representative Harris is advocating for individuals who hold BTC to be safeguarded under Section 9, Article 1 of the Texas Constitution, which guarantees protection against unreasonable searches and seizures of their homes, possessions, persons, and papers. Harris believes this constitutional protection should extend to digital possessions, including Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency.
Resolution Signals Texas’ Welcome to Bitcoin Economy
Representative Oscar Longoria, a Democrat from La Joya, has proposed a bill, House Bill 4278, which aims to promote the growth of cryptocurrency in Texas. The bill would create a program that would assist Bitcoin miners in setting up operations in abandoned gas wells in the state, known as orphaned gas wells.
These wells are currently not in use but need to be adequately decommissioned. According to The Washington Post, orphaned gas wells can emit various pollutants into the air and threaten the environment. Typically, states are responsible for capping these wells.
However, Representative Longoria’s House Bill 4278 would delegate this responsibility to BTC miners participating in the program. Selected miners must plug, remediate, or reclaim the abandoned well before establishing BTC mining operations at the site.
Once the wells have been remediated, their energy could be utilized for BTC mining. In addition, representative Mark Dorazio, a Republican from San Antonio, has introduced House Bill 1493, which aims to establish a Texas state digital currency backed by gold. Under this proposed bill, a trust would be created to hold purchased gold supporting the new digital currency.
The trustee of the trust would be appointed by the state comptroller and would be responsible for managing all of the gold reserves supporting the digital currency. The trustee would also ensure sufficient gold to cover payments to all digital currency holders.