Mississippi senate passes bill to protect cryptocurrency miners from discrimination

The American state of Mississippi is one step closer to protecting the rights of cryptocurrency miners after the state senate passed the Mississippi Digital Asset Mining Act on Feb. 8. There is a companion bill under consideration in the state house of representatives. 

The senate bill, authored by state Sen. Josh Harkins, legalizes home digital asset mining and the operation of mining businesses in areas zoned for industrial use. There are already crypto miners operating in Mississippi, which has some of the lowest electricity rates in the country. However, the bill claimed:

“Digital asset mining has often faced regulatory challenges at the state and local level.”

In addition, the bill prohibits limiting noise from home mining beyond existing limits, imposing requirements on miners beyond those locally applied to data centers or changing the zoning of a mining center without proper notification and an opportunity to appeal. It prohibits the Public Service Commission from imposing discriminatory rates on mining businesses and exempts home and business miners from money transmitter status.

The bill also provides the state with a legal definition of “virtual currency.”

Related: Bitcoin price is up, but BTC mining stocks could remain vulnerable throughout 2023

Mississippi is one of the states where the Satoshi Action Fund has been active. Fund CEO Dennis Porter spoke at a meeting of the Mississippi Senate Finance Committee in January and mentioned the potential for crypto miners to use orphaned oil and gas wells as a power source.

Both the senate and house bills mention orphan wells. The house bill would set up a state Digital Asset Mining Council that would consider the use of the wells as a mining power source and other issues throughout the year. The house bill has passed the Ways and Means Committee but has not been debated on the house floor.

Mississippi’s legislation contrasts with the two-year moratorium on crypto mining passed in New York and signed into law in November.