Fiscal Notes: Understanding Cryptocurrency and its Rise

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Nearly 9 out of 10 Americans have heard at least a little about cryptocurrencies, and 16 percent have invested in, traded or used a cryptocurrency, according to a 2021 Pew Research Center survey.

Even though more Americans are familiar with cryptocurrency — only about 48 percent of respondents in 2015 reported hearing about bitcoin — skepticism is growing. Critics have called cryptocurrency a scam, a pyramid scheme and much more. 

In the recently released August issue of Fiscal Notesthe Comptroller’s office provides an overview of cryptocurrency and explains its rise since 2009 as well as its continued interest among some investors.

“Cryptocurrency frequently appears in the news, but what it is and how it is used remains a mystery to many Texans,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said. “Maybe that’s because crypto, as it’s often called, has its own lingo or because it can seem like something out of a science fiction movie, with its complex software programs and digitized coins.”

This issue of Fiscal Notes also examines cryptocurrency mining and the vast facilities and networks of servers needed to produce it. Texas mining operations include one in Rockdale, and more are likely because of Texas’ business-friendly environment and energy potential.

Fiscal Notes furthers the Comptroller’s constitutional responsibility to monitor the state’s economy and estimate state government revenues. It has been published since 1975, featuring in-depth analysis concerning state finances and original research by subject-matter experts in the Comptroller’s office.

Fiscal Notes is available online and can be received by subscribing via the Comptroller’s website.

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