Plattsburgh's Crypto Mining Ban Could End Earlier Than Expected

NEWS
Nikhilesh De
Mar 19, 2018 at 06:01 UTC

The city of Plattsburgh, New York, has chosen to temporarily ban all new commercial cryptocurrency mining operations for the next 18 months – but local officials have suggested that the prohibition could end earlier.

Last Thursday, Plattsburgh's City Council adopted a local law prohibiting any new mining operations from setting up shop, effective immediately. The city intends to use this time to establish rules for commercial miners, with an eye toward protecting residents from having to pay for increased electricity costs.

However, during a discussion of the then-proposed law on March 15, councilors indicated that the ban could be lifted much sooner, once protections are put in place.

Councilor Rachelle Armstrong said the time period may be too long, and that she was concerned the ban would cost the city business amid the uncertainty.

To that end, the council would have to establish rules for any companies hoping to launch crypto-mining facilities, and these rules would focus on who pays for the elevated electricity usage.

Councilor Patrick McFarlin agreed that 18 months was too long a period of time, but added that immediate action was needed to "stop the bleeding."

He remarked, according to a recording:

"Our public doesn't deserve 18 months, our public doesn't deserve waiting even six months for us to get our act together and manage this, but something needs to be done right now and right now 18 months is what we've got. But the clearly the law says we as a council can act, and if we do act, the moratorium won't last anywhere near 18 months."

The bill began after Plattsburgh exceeded its monthly electricity allotment earlier this year, according to Gizmodo. As a result, every resident in the city saw increased power bills for the month of January. Two cryptocurrency mining facilities in the city are allegedly responsible for the spike in usage.

During the meeting, one resident said that the higher bills were an unfair burden, saying: "The electrical ratepayers should be compensated for this. We shouldn't be taxed, we shouldn't be burdened by this."

Another argued that without the moratorium, companies would continue to try and set up shop in Plattsburgh, adding that they would "try to use our electricity … so we need some time to look into that."

Plattsburgh council meeting image via YouTube

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