Let's keep this going
sign up today to receive our daily news briefs featuring a handful of the most important stories in business, tech, and life
EMAILED ON March 19, 2018 BY Zachary Crockett

A US city just banned crypto mining for the first time

Plattsburgh — a city of 19,780 wayyyyy upstate in New York — has become the first US city to temporarily ban cryptocurrency mining.

Enacted last Thursday, the ban will place an 18-month moratorium on all new crypto mining operations in an effort to cut down on the astronomical energy usage the practice requires.

Plattsburgh brought this upon themselves

With close proximity to a hydroelectric dam, Plattsburgh boasts some of the cheapest energy in the United States: about 4.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to the 10-cent national average.

Last year, Plattsburgh sweetened the deal even more by offering a reduced rate of 2 cents per kilowatt-hour to “industrial operators” — and the bitcoin miners flooded into town.

The problem: These operations used far beyond the city’s energy allotment (104 megawatt-hours of electricity per month), resulting in extra costs to all residents’ energy bills.

Energy suckers

The crypto mining process enlists servers that are constantly running equations. Large-scale operations consume incredible amounts of energy: It’s estimated that the amount of wattage required to generate one coin could power the average American household for 2 years.

Plattsburgh’s ban won’t apply to current operations but will prevent new ones from joining the party, giving the city time to figure out its next move.

Get news (like this) delivered by email every morning