A region in the Pacific Northwest of the United States is on high alert because of concerns about a possible invasion of bitcoin (BTC) miners. The state has previously experienced an influx of Chinese bitcoin miners, due to decreasing electricity prices.
Bitcoin Bull-Run Could Revive Interest in Mining, Officials Warn
Per the Seattle Times, bitcoin’s bull-run is putting the public utility districts (PUD) in Central Washington on high alert, monitoring for suspiciously high power bills. PUD officials claim crypto miners from China have come to the region to take advantage of its low hydroelectricity prices.
Such developments worry the Columbia River Basin authorities because the “2017-2018 mining boom could happen again.” Although electricity prices have been increased to combat mining, authorities believe new bitcoin miners could still establish themselves in the state.
So far the authorities haven’t seen an increase in commercial mining, however, the PUDs still brace for a return of “small-scale mines” that could overload local residential power lines.
John Stoll, managing director of customer utilities at Chelan County’s PUD, commented on the matter:
We haven’t seen that, but definitely we are keeping our radar up.
PUDs Are Not Willing to Welcome New Bitcoin Miners
Stoll says he doesn’t let his guard down, keeping an eye on market volatility:
The biggest concern we have is somebody coming in, we build 50 megawatts’ worth of capacity for them, bitcoin prices change, and then they just leave.
Seattle Times quotes one of the measures taken by Grant County, where costs for bitcoin miners will be increased if the outlet meets this specific criterion: it’s using 5% or more of the district’s power.
But building new mining facilities is not the only headache that PUDs are facing. The districts’ officials believe small-size bitcoin miners could restart operations from currently inactive facilities.
The U.S. East Coast is also witnessing its own bitcoin mining-related controversy. On December 20, 2020, organizations led by an environmental organization filed a lawsuit against the U.S. town Torrey in New York for giving the green light to expand a bitcoin mining facility at the Greenidge Generation power plant.
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