Central Washington Raises Concerns Over Possible Bitcoin Mining Boom

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A region in the U.S. Pacific Northwest is on high alert amid concerns about a possible Bitcoin Miners (BTC) invasion. The state previously saw an influx of Chinese bitcoin miners due to falling electricity prices.

Bitcoin Bull-Run could revive interest in mining, officials warn

According to the Seattle Times, Bitcoin’s bull run is putting central Washington’s public utility districts (PUD) on alert and monitoring them for suspiciously high utility bills. PUD officials claim crypto miners from China came to the region to take advantage of low hydropower prices.

Such developments are worrying the Columbia River Basin authorities as “the 2017-2018 mining boom may recur”. Although electricity prices were raised to combat mining, authorities believe new bitcoin miners could still settle in the state.

So far, authorities have not seen any increase in commercial mining. However, the PUDs are still bracing themselves for the return of “small mines” that could overload local residential power lines.

Commenting on the matter, John Stoll, General Manager of Customer Services at PUD in Chelan County:

We didn’t see that, but we definitely keep our radar up.

PUDs are unwilling to welcome new bitcoin miners

Stoll says he will not let his vigilance down and keep an eye on the volatility of the market:

The biggest worry we have is that someone will walk in. We build 50 megawatts of capacity for them, bitcoin prices change and then they just go.

The Seattle Times cites one of the measures taken by Grant County to increase the cost of bitcoin miners if the point of sale meets that particular criterion: it is consuming 5% or more of the district’s power.

However, building new mining facilities is not the only problem PUDs face. District officials believe that small bitcoin miners may resume operations from currently inactive facilities.

The US east coast is also witnessing its own controversy surrounding bitcoin mining. On December 20, 2020, organizations led by an environmental organization filed a lawsuit against the US city of Torrey, New York, for giving the green light to expand a Bitcoin mining facility at the Greenidge Generation power station.

What do you think of Central Washington’s concerns? Let us know in the comments below.

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