William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review


Logan J. Losito


[...] As presented in this Note, with a lack of clear guidance, disparate legislation from U.S. states continues to form a patchwork approach of policy to the topic of blockchain, with notably little attention paid towards environmentally sustainable practices. While this transpires across the states, sentiments from members of the federal legislative and, most recently, the executive branches of government express priorities in two areas when developing policy on the matter.

As this Note will outline, the concerns are generally over the sustainability of cryptocurrency mining practices and the potential for blockchain innovation to benefit environmental sustainability goals. However, while the conversation transpires, there is no meaningful federal legislation addressing these concerns. The implementation of decentralized ledger technology in our country can be done with little to no carbon footprint and could serve to enhance environmentally sustainable practices across numerous industries. Decentralized ledger technology, or more specifically blockchain technology, at present is in its infancy. However, this infant has already facilitated a trillion-dollar cryptocurrency market. While many consider blockchain to be an end-all be-all solution, this may not be the case. Blockchain technology is not infinite in its uses, but it is infinitely powerful in its potential benefits. This Note begins with a general overview of blockchain technology and some of most important features of a blockchain, followed by a discussion of the international and domestic conversations and regulatory attitude towards blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, and it concludes with discussions on the two main points at issue for government attention in passing meaningful legislation to further sustainability goals.

This abstract has been taken from the author's introduction.