Cryptocurrency Mining Digs Deep In Massena

Cryptocurrency Mining Digs Deep In Massena

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A company called Coinmint says the former Alcoa East smelter could soon be the biggest cryptocurrency mine in the world.

Thousands of computers have been installed inside the old Alcoa strip mills to hunt for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

“In essence what were doing is we're processing digital currency transactions and we're being rewarded to do so,” said chief technology officer Prieur Leary.

One Bitcoin was worth about $7,800 Thursday. The computers run complex equations to cough them up. Leary says about 60 people are working now and they hope to hit 150.

“It's 150 jobs — it’s great, we’ll take all that we can get, Massena town Supervisor Steve O'Shaughnessy said. “We've always said we want to encourage development and entrepreneurs or businesses.”

So far, Coinmint is receiving no government help. The New York Power Authority turned down a request for discount power.

Coinmint officials say that’s okay because they can buy power right off the grid. Electricity prices remain low. It's invested about $50 million already.

In Massena, there's still a lot of skepticism about this whole cryptocurrency mining movement. But now, cryptocurrency mining firms like Coinmint are stepping up and trying to dispel some of that skepticism.

“This business isn't going away,” Leary said. “We anticipate being here for the foreseeable future — and being a part of this community and contributing to it.”

Coinmint has a 10-year lease from Alcoa for the old smelter plant. It says it plans to invest $700 million building up its cryptocurrency mine.

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