Cryptocurrency Mining–Despite the overwhelmingly negative image of crypto mining related electricity costs, from the impact they have on the environment to the rising rates of neighborhood power bills, the state of New York has approved a bid to increase the population of miners through cheaper electricity.
On Thursday, state regulators approved a motion that would create a new rate structure specifically for cryptocurrency miners looking to negotiate a better deal on electricity. Massena, a town in Upstate New York, will allow its municipal utility to review contracts on an individual and isolated basis for miners, thereby protecting other residents from an increase in rates from grid usage. This comes on the heels of an earlier decision related to crypto mining electricity costs, when the State cleared 36 municipalities in March to increase rates for individuals and firms mining cryptocurrency.
At the time of the filing, the New York Municipal Power Agency reported that some mining firms were responsible for 33% of grid usage, despite doing little to invest or promote the local economy. In addition to Quebec, China and Iceland, cryptocurrency miners have flocked to locations like New York for their hydro-rich electricity resources, thereby cutting costs to make the process of mining even more profitable. However, as Bloomberg reports, the draw to low-cost areas has locals up in arms over the drain on their grids–which can lead to increased rates across the board in addition to higher utility loads. In the interim, governments such as the state of New York have been forced to address the issue of crypto mining, which operates as a for-profit business despite the fact that most mining individuals and firms fail to qualify for the same benefits of traditional brick and border outlets consuming a disproportionate amount of municipal resources.
New York State Department of Public Service Chair John Rhodes commented on the drain that some miners put on local resources, while confirming that the state was interested in pursuing a mutual relationship with miners,
“We must ensure that business customers pay a fair price for the electricity that they consume. However, given the abundance of low-cost electricity in Upstate New York, there is an opportunity to serve the needs of existing customers and to encourage economic development in the region.”
While Quebec, a similarly hydro-rich area for electricity, has sought to repel the flood of crypto-miners by instituting a three-fold increase in rates specific to cryptocurrency, New York has seen the benefit in sharing its abundant natural resource. Compared to other areas of the country, where the national averages for residential electricity hover at 13 cents per kilowatt-hour, Massena is able to afford customers 3.9 cents per kw-h, in part due to the efficiency of hydroelectric dams.
As Bitcoin, and all of cryptocurrency prices begin to flounder, miners will be forced to find more profitable areas for their electricity-consuming business in an effort to lower costs and make up for the difference in declining value. Just yesterday Joseph Carson, the chief security scientist at Thycotic, cited the rising cost of crypto mining as being the primary cause for the inevitable death of Bitcoin, before making a prediction that BTC would fall to $43.