Opinion Editorial: Buncombe County, North Carolina Moratorium on Bitcoin Mining
The Buncombe County moratorium on Bitcoin mining has raised concerns as it restricts property rights. In August 2022, the Clay County had introduced a moratorium on Bitcoin mining which was based on the North Carolina zoning statute. This statute seeks to ensure that a new type of development does not proceed until changes to regulations or environmental issues are appropriately addressed.
The Buncombe County commissioners decided to instate a one-year moratorium on cryptocurrency mining and stated that they needed it to study the industry. However, the planning director argued that cryptocurrency mining centers don’t meet the definition of a data center under the existing North Carolina law.
The North Carolina statute that enables data mining center tax breaks, enacted in 2015, offers big money for the benefit of select few tech corporations. It was originally intended to promote economic development in North Carolina. But in practice, it’s now being used to discourage digital asset data centers in some western North Carolina counties.
The planning commission failed to complete due diligence legally required to impose a moratorium, indicating that there may be bias against Bitcoin miners. Instead of banning a perfectly legal activity they do not understand, the commissioners could have created a countywide task force, which could have studied the pros and cons of digital assets while planning could serve all constituents.
The way in which Bitcoin mining is treated presents a pivotal moment for Buncombe County’s innovation economy. The commission should join the cause or miss out on one of the most important emerging tech industries driving adoption of the soundest money ever invented.
It’s crucial to press public officials like those in Buncombe County who don’t do their job properly or exert a bias without doing their homework. Hopefully, progress can be made with education on all levels.
This is a guest post by Dennis Fassuliotis, founder of South Carolina Blockchain Inc. and co-founder of South Carolina Emerging Technology Association, Inc. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.