Texas Blockchain Council and Riot Platforms Prevail Against U.S. Energy Officials

.. By Nathan Daniels

February 26, 2024

2 min read

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Allegations of Invasive Data Collection

On Feb. 22, the Texas Blockchain Council (TBC) and Riot Platforms accused several U.S. energy officials, including the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), of attempting invasive data collection from cryptocurrency miners. The alleged data collection raised concerns about privacy infringement and potential misuse of sensitive information.

Successful Court Intervention

Responding to the allegations, the TBC and Riot Platforms took legal action, seeking relief from what they deemed unjustified intrusion into their operations. Their efforts bore fruit on Feb. 23 when, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, a United States District judge ruled in their favor, marking a significant legal victory for the cryptocurrency community.

Enforcement of Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)

Central to the court’s decision was the enforcement of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), effectively halting the EIA’s efforts to compel crypto miners to participate in the controversial data collection initiative. The TRO not only prevented further data collection but also prohibited the sharing of any information already gathered through the survey.

Argument for Potential Damages

In their case, the TBC and Riot Platforms highlighted potential damages resulting from compliance with the survey. These included non-recoverable costs associated with compliance, the looming threat of prosecution for non-compliance, and the potential disclosure of proprietary information requested by the authorities. Such concerns underscored the gravity of the situation and the need for swift legal intervention.

Disagreement Over Survey Duration

Amidst the legal proceedings, disagreement arose over the duration allocated for miners to complete the survey, with no compensation provided for their time and effort. While the EIA estimated the survey completion time at approximately 30 minutes, the court deemed this estimate “extremely inaccurate.” Additionally, the plaintiffs argued that compliance had already consumed over 40 hours, further emphasizing the disproportionate burden imposed on crypto miners.

Likelihood of Lawsuit Success

Based on the evidence presented, the court concluded that the TBC and Riot Platforms were likely to succeed in their lawsuit against the U.S. energy officials. The court also criticized the EIA’s use of emergency provisions to approve the survey, deeming it unjustified and falling short of legal standards.

Temporary Restraint and Objectives

The issuance of the TRO marked a temporary restraint on the EIA’s activities, aiming to preserve the status quo and protect the interests of crypto miners. With the TRO set to expire before March 25, the objective is to maintain stability and prevent further infringement on the rights of industry participants during the legal proceedings.