Plattsburgh, a small lakeside town in northeastern New York has banned the establishment of new bitcoin mining firms for the next year and a half citing the fact that the miners have been exploiting its low-cost electricity. This comes at about the same time that the New York public utilities arm gave a ruling that allowed the municipal power authorities to charge higher electricity rates for cryptocurrency miners.
The town which is quite close to the Canadian border put the one and a half year moratorium on cryptocurrency mining in a bid to preserve its natural resources, the health of its residents as well as the “character and direction” of the city. Thus, for the next 18 months, the city will not be considering any new applications for commercial cryptocurrency mining. Breaking this rule will attract a fine amounting to $1,000 daily for the period that the moratorium is violated.
“It is the purpose of this Local Law to facilitate the adoption of land use and zoning and/or municipal lighting department regulations to protect and enhance the City’s natural, historic, cultural and electrical resources,” Plattsburgh officials said after holding a public hearing on the matter Thursday.
Cryptocurrency mining is the process by which mining firms or individuals get paid with cryptocurrencies for running complex mathematical equations on high-powered computers in order to confirm the validity of transactions. This process needs enormous computing power and thus is very energy-intensive hence miners will almost naturally be drawn to areas with significantly lower electricity costs. Thanks to its hydropower plants and the subsidies that some of the municipal power authorities allow on the electricity, some parts of New York are able to offer electricity rates that are as competitive as the Chinese bitcoin mining market. Furthermore, the naturally lower temperatures in the state also significantly reduce the cost of cooling facilities at the mining firms.
It Is a Positive Move, Some Agree
While this might not be a favourable ruling for cryptocurrency miners, one local bitcoin mining operation, Plattsburgh BTC, has expressed its support for the ruling. David Bowman, the founder and CEO of the bitcoin mining firm said in an email that the move was a positive one for both the city of Plattsburgh and crypto mining as a whole.
“We will be actively working with the city right away to find solutions that work in all of our interests, like possibly shutting off the machines if we are in danger of going over the city’s quota, looking into energy recapture as a way to heat buildings,” he added. “Anything is on the table.”