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March 7, 2018

21ST CENTURY PROBLEMS: Plattsburgh mulls bitcoin moratorium.

The City of Plattsburgh is moving toward installing a moratorium on energy-sucking commercial cryptocurrency mining operations.

Such a moratorium may be the first of its kind in the nation, Mayor Colin Read said.
“This would give us some time and allow us to explore this more,” he said.

“This has increased our power usage and put us over our threshold, and it is affecting our ratepayers.”

The problem is that mining for cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, absorbs a tremendous amount of energy in generating the virtual currency, explained Municipal Lighting Department Manager Bill Treacy.

The miners identify cryptocurrency using computer banks that run complex algorythims [sic] for hours on end.

The computer banks use so much energy that they throw off massive amounts of heat.
Treacy says there are two mining farms in the city that they know of — one in the former Imperial Mill and one in Skyway Plaza.

There may be some smaller private mining operations in households in the city, he said.

Super-escalating utility rates would solve the problem — either on the demand side or on the supply side — without having to snoop on anyone’s computers.