Massena town board plans moratorium on all cryptocurrency mining operations
BY ADAM ATKINSON
North Country This Week
MASSENA — The Massena town board plans to enact a moratorium on all cryptocurrency mining operations in the town. The board has scheduled a public hearing on a law to establish the moratorium on Aug. 4 at 4:30 p.m. at the town hall, 60 Main St.
The board is expected to hold a special meeting following the hearing to consider passing the law.Currently there are no comprehensive regulations of cryptocurrency mining operations on the books in Massena. The board hopes the moratorium, which will expire Nov. 30, 2021, will give the town time to hash out a better system to handle future developments.
Massena’s proximity to NYPA’s Moses Saunder power dam facility, along with available vacant industrial buildings and real estate, have attracted cryptocurrency companies to the community. In 2018, the companies Blockchain Industries and Coinmint courted the town to set up cryptocurrency mining operations.
Coinmint ended up setting up shop there in May 2018 to take advantage of low cost hydro power supplied by the dam.
“Coinmint operates the largest digital currency data center in the world, in a former Alcoa Aluminum smelter in Massena, New York. At 435MW of transformer capacity at its Massena complex, the facility’s capacity is three times larger than any other known operating Digital Currency Data Center,” the company website claims.
“The facility has been operational since May 2018, and in this short time, is already making a material contribution to global digital currency infrastructure. Coinmint’s mission, in short, is to bring this facility to its full potential in 12 to 24 months,” the website said.
The proposed law the board will consider to establish the moratorium defines cryptocurrency as “the commercial process by which cryptocurrency transactions are verified and added to the public ledger, known as the block chain, and also the means through which new units of cryptocurrencies are released, through the use of server farms employing data processing equipment.”
“For purposes of this section any equipment which requires a high density load service or any server farm will constitute a cryptocurrency mining operation. High density load service herein shall be the same as set forth in the tariff of the Town of Massena Electric Department. Server farm, as used herein, shall be three or more interconnected computers housed together in a single facility whose primary function is to perform cryptocurrency mining or associated data processing,” the proposed law says.
Essentially, cryptocurrency mining uses vast amounts of electricity to run powerful computers online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to unlock cryptocurrency on what's known as a blockchain code. The unlocked and encrypted portions of the blockchain are then sold or traded as a commodity. Probably the most well-known form of cryptocurrency is Bitcoin.
To learn more about Coinmint, visit https://www.coinmint.one/.
To view the local law enacting the town’s moratorium visit the town website at https://massena.us/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=16.