A cryptocurrency mine.Image: NurPhoto/Getty ImagesBy Stan Schroeder2018-03-16 14:59:31 UTC
Anyone who thought about starting a cryptocurrency mining operation in the city with the cheapest electricity in the U.S. is out of luck, at least for the next year and a half.
The city council of Plattsburgh, New York unanimously voted in favor of a 18-month moratorium on crypto-mining Thursday, Motherboard reported.
The new law, originally proposed on March 2, affects only new, commercial mining operations; current companies that are mining in Plattsburgh will be allowed to continue to do so.
Plattsburgh — a small city with a population of under 20,000 as of the 2010 census — has very cheap electricity due to its involvement in building the power-generating dams on the St. Lawrence river back in the 1950s. And for a cryptocurrency mining operation — an energy-intensive process used to create new crypto-coins and power large cryptocurrency networks — cheap electricity is a huge draw.
In February, city mayor Colin L. Read told The New York Times that Bitcoin mining consumes roughly 10 percent of Plattsburgh power, which is forcing the city to buy extra electricity on the open market at far more expensive rates than it typically gets. Besides being power-hungry, crypto-mining companies don’t employ as many people as some other businesses, Read argued.
The law is not designed to curb cryptocurrency mining entirely. “This moratorium will allow time for the zoning code and municipal lighting department regulations to be amended to regulate this potential use,” the proposal said. According to Motherboard, who spoke with Read, solutions include having miners pay for overages on the city’s power budget, or simply increasing the cost of electricity for mining operations.
Disclosure: The author of this text owns, or has recently owned, a number of cryptocurrencies, including BTC and ETH.