Massena pumps the brakes on new cryptocurrency miners

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 5:12 PM EDT
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TOWN OF MASSENA, New York (WWNY) - The town of Massena wants to tap the brakes. It plans to impose a 90-day moratorium on new operations mining for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The town wants to draw up new regulations for the miners.

“We don’t want Massena to be filled up with these sea boxes throughout the town,” said Steve O’Shaughnessy, Massena town supervisor. “We don’t want it littered with these trailers that are pumping out Bitcoin.”

They became concerned when they saw trailers with computers in them on Route 42. They’re a step up from shipping containers, but similar nevertheless. Soon, 1,500 computers inside will mine cryptocurrencies.

“We just want to make sure if they’re going to come here, that it’s a nice presentable building,” said O’Shaughnessy.

There’s a big surge in cryptocurrency miners wanting to locate in Massena. Massena Electric is negotiating with three now. It has its own moratorium on working with any new ones.

“The key components for the developers is low cost electricity and reliability, which are two things we’ve always had,” said Andrew McMahon, Massena Electric superintendent.

Massena Electric says any deals it strikes will protect current customers. The utility and its customers could even benefit from the increased sales.

It’s not just cheap electricity sparking all this interest. China is cracking down on cryptocurrency miners there. So now, these miners are scouring the world, looking for greener fields.

The owner of the mobile units on Route 42 say they’re different from all those guys. Petawatt Group bought 140 acres there two years ago. They want to mine. But they also have other plans.

“We’re not like some new operation that decamped from somewhere else and coming in and trying to find power, you know, relatively inexpensively, and not being part of the community,” said Jason Rappaport, Petawatt Group co-founder.

They want to process plant proteins at the site as part of the “beyond beef” movement. They say that has significant potential for creating jobs.

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