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Court Sides with Bitcoin Miners: US Energy Officials Blocked from Data Grab

Texas Blockchain Council and Riot Platforms score a win against US Energy officials

The Texas Blockchain Council (TBC) and Riot Platforms, a prominent Bitcoin mining company, have secured a significant legal win in their battle against U.S. energy officials. A lawsuit filed in the Western District of Texas brought to light concerns over an "invasive" data collection initiative led by the U.S. Department of Energy and other agencies. 

On February 22, the plaintiffs argued the imposed data survey threatened the crypto mining sector with "irreversible harm." The court's response was swift and decisive, issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) to halt the data collection efforts.

 “The Court finds that Plaintiffs have shown through a verified complaint and supporting evidence that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result if a TRO is not issued,” 

It effectively pauses any further data requests until the order expires before March 25.

Pierre Rochard (@BitcoinPierre):

“Temporary restraining order granted” pic.twitter.com/LzYVycdEWK

Court's standpoint and implications for crypto mining

This legal dispute highlighted the contention surrounding the energy use and operational transparency of cryptocurrency mining operations. The court critically evaluated the arguments, particularly noting the discrepancy in the estimated time for survey completion. While the Energy Information Administration suggested a mere 30 minutes, the actual burden exceeded 40 hours, according to the plaintiffs. 

This vast underestimation and the potential for disclosing proprietary information without compensation were central to the court's decision.

The court's filing revealed, acknowledging the plaintiffs' strong position:

 "Plaintiffs also demonstrate that they are likely to succeed on the merits. The survey was proposed and approved under an emergency provision of the PRA," 

The temporary nature of the restraining order aims to "preserve the status quo" for a 4-week period, setting a precedent for the scrutiny of regulatory actions against the crypto mining industry and potentially influencing future legal standards.