A city in New York has imposed an 18-month bitcoin mining ban in an attempt to stop miners from using the city’s cheap electricity, making it the first city to do so.
Earlier this month, a law was proposed by Plattsburgh city Mayor Colin Read which sought a moratorium on bitcoin mining.
Speaking to the New York Times in February, Read said that bitcoin mining consumed around 10 percent of the city’s fixed supply of cheap electricity in January and February. Yet, Plattsburgh only has 104 megawatt-hours per month. As a result, Plattsburgh has been forced to purchase more electricity on the open market at higher prices.
With residents complaining about fluctuating electricity bills in January, Read said:
I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints that electric bills have gone up by $100 or $200. You can understand why people are upset.
According to a report from Motherboard, it is due to a hydroelectric dam on the St. Lawrence River that residents of Plattsburgh have access to the ‘cheapest electricity in the world,’ according to Read. Compared to the U.S. average of just over 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, the citizens of Plattsburg only pay 4.5 cents.
The concern, though, is that the city’s cheap electricity will draw more bitcoin mining operations to the city to use its power.
We could use 100 megawatts in two months’ time if we opened up the floodgates. And then there would be no cheap power left for our residents. Some of the proposals we’ve been seeing, they want to take 20 or 30 megawatt bites of power, and we don’t have that.
Over the next 18 months, city officials will work with residents and bitcoin mining operations in the city to find a solution. Several suggestions include increasing the kilowatt rate for miners or getting them to pay for the excess of the city’s power budget.
A study conducted earlier this month has found out how much it costs to mine for one bitcoin from a list of 115 countries.
Compiled by Elite Fixtures, it discovered that South Korea is the most expensive costing $26,170 for one coin. Second place went to Niue, a small island nation in the South Pacific Ocean, at $17,566; Bahrain, which costs $16,773; and the Cook Islands at $15,861, rounding out the top five.
Of the least expensive nations Venezuela was the cheapest at $531, followed by Trinidad and Tobago at $1,190; Uzbekistan, which costs $1,788; Ukraine at $1,852; and Myanmar, costing $1,983 to mine one bitcoin.
The study showed that the U.S. was the 41st cheapest at $4,758, while China, a major mining location, took 17th cheapest at $3,172.
Featured image from Shutterstock.