US City Mulls 18-Month Moratorium on Bitcoin Mining

A proposed law in the City of Plattsburgh would place a moratorium on new commercial cryptocurrency mining operations for 18 months.

Mar 6, 2018 at 3:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:38 a.m. UTC

A city in the U.S. state of New York could put an 18-month halt on new bitcoin mining operations in the area amid concerns from local officials.

Plattsburgh, according to reports, is weighing a proposed law that would impose a "moratorium on commercial mining operations" until city officials can consider "zoning and land use laws and municipal lightning department regulations." It was spurred by concerns over excessive power use in the area, drawn from Plattsburgh's access to hydroelectrical resources.

The proposed law was advanced by Mayor Colin Read, who told the Watertown Daily Times that the growth of crypto mining in Plattsburgh "has increased our power usage and put us over our threshold, and it is affecting our ratepayers."

According to the text of the measure – which will be the subject of a public hearing on March 15 – the moratorium would provide a degree of breathing space around discussions "before commercial cryptocurrency mining operations [result] in irreversible change to the character and direction of the City."

Speaking to WCAX, a local bitcoin miner said he understood the rationale of wanting to protect local constituents. But that said, David Bowman of Plattsburgh BTC added that he doesn't think a full moratorium is necessary.

"I think it's not a great idea to just completely ban the whole thing – it's just too new," he told the news outlet.

The conflict among local officials, bitcoin miners and city ratepayers has played out elsewhere in the U.S., including in Washington State's Chelan County, which saw its own moratorium on high-rate customers – miners among them – amid a similar dispute in 2016.

Miners there ultimately saw their rates go up, though the region itself has attracted a number of mines given the hydro-power and relatively low cost of operation.

Hydroelectric power image via Shutterstock


The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.