Officials from Upstate New York Town Seek to Ban Bitcoin Mining

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Plattsburgh, NY city officials want to book their cheap electricity for non-crypto economic growth. But bitcoin mining is also making headlines, amid fears that the city's power supply could be depleted.

Plattsburgh boasts some of the cheapest energy prices in america because of hydroelectric power stemming from the St. Lawrence River. When the dams were formed on the river almost 70 years ago, the town locked in low electricity rates for a fixed supply. Bitcoin miners are taking advantage of it, but the town's mayor is crying foul.

«With terrific use of additional power, we are placed within our threshold each winter and we are placed within our threshold of ratepayers,» said Mayor Colin Read.

This is threatening the business of mining operations such as David Bowen's Plattsburgh BTC, a 20-computer business housed in an old paper warehouse. Superior news traveled fast, and since then a handful of other bitcoin miners have become his neighbors.

But their fate hangs in the balance.   According to reports, bitcoin mining customers about 10% of Plattsburgh power generation. Mayor Reed said that this has resulted in the city having to buy electricity in the open market at speeds much greater than the rate base.

While other businesses in town consumer equal amounts of energy, the mayor would rather see the power supply go into a company that adds hundreds of jobs to the area. He quipped to The New York Times about bitcoin miners: «They employ a security guard,» he said. «And a man who comes when something breaks.»

Meanwhile, about 80 miles down the road from Plattsburgh in Massena, NY, where you will find also low-cost power agreements in place for industrial use, Coinmint wishes to develop a 16,000-computer server bitcoin mining facility. The business is still in negotiations but the prospects look good amid a downturn in aluminum smelting that took a hit on the local economy.

Coinmint is looking to occupy the aluminum plant, where it plans to introduce some 150 jobs to the area. The business has reportedly requested access to 15mw of cheap power.

Plattsburgh city officials intend to take up the subject of bitcoin mining at an upcoming hearing scheduled for mid-March.