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Mayor of Cash-Strapped Louisiana City Pitches ICO

Joel Robideaux, the mayor-president of the Louisiana city and parish of Lafayette, urged local residents on Thursday to consider launching an initial coin offering (ICO).

Lafayette parish is in dire financial straits, officials say. A presentation given by the town in March stressed that property tax revenues are insufficient and that a fund used to finance operations is running dry. The measures put forward to address the situation included raising taxes, eliminating the parks department and annexing unincorporated land.

According to local reports, Robideaux favors a less conventional solution: create a cryptocurrency and sell it.

He said Thursday that the parish should launch its own crypto, distribute it through an ICO, and use the proceeds to “build a living lab of blockchain researchers and developers,” the Acadiana Advocate reports.

The mayor-president did not explain what function this cryptocurrency would serve besides raising funds. He said the goal was to “develop solutions targeting government inefficiencies, and, more importantly, alternatives for financing public infrastructure.”

Other municipalities have toyed with the idea in the past. The city of Berkeley, California, proposed creating a cryptocurrency earlier this year, describing the tokens as “crypto enabled microbonds.”

Similarly to Lafayette, Berkeley’s impetus is a funding crunch. The predominantly Democratic city has seen federal money for housing programs decrease under the Republican Trump administration. One Berkeley official presented the ICO in explicitly political terms, saying: “the resistance requires a token.”

Robideaux, a Republican, tried to distance himself from any kind of ideology in his recent speech. Cryptocurrency, he said, is “not just a bunch of global libertarians that want unregulated, untraceable and secure digital currency transactions.”

He went on to say:

“It’s the recognition of global stakeholders that the world of banking, finance and payment systems is forever changed, that the world of healthcare, government and possibly every other industry is about to be disrupted.”

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Louisiana Officials Probe Staffers for Bitcoin Mining

The attorney general of the U.S. state of Louisiana is reportedly investigating a group of former staffers for using official resources to mine cryptocurrencies.

According to a report from the Tribune News Service, officials in Louisiana have yet to publicly comment on the rumored investigation. Yet sources told the publication that the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation began asking questions after discovering “hardware that they believed could have been used in the so-called mining of bitcoin.”

“We were worried that the (computer) systems may have been compromised,” one source told the news outlet. Some of the employees, whose names were not published, have reportedly denied that they engaged in the energy-intensive mining process, through which new coins are minted.

If confirmed, the investigation would be the latest to emerge in recent years regarding the suspected use of public-office resources to mine cryptocurrencies.

In January 2017, for example, Federal Reserve’s Office of the Inspector General fined a former staffer $5,000 after being caught mining bitcoins on a server owned by the U.S. central bank between 2012 and 2014. Later that year, New York’s Department of Education sanctioned an employee for mining bitcoins on their work computer between March and April 2014.

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Mining Bitcoin in the US? Best Do It In Louisiana, Study Says

Electrical supply company Crescent Electric (CESCO) study reveals that the state of Louisiana is the cheapest state in the US to mine Bitcoin.

Digital currency mining requires a lot of electric power and the power rates differ in every state.

Based on CESCO’s latest study of the cost of cryptocurrency mining across the US, it is currently cheapest to mine Bitcoin in Louisiana — electricity costs at 9.87 cents per watt puts the average cost of mining one Bitcoin at $3,224.

This is significantly cheaper than the current price of Bitcoin, which is currently trading at around $12,000 per coin, as of press time.

The cost to mine 1 bitcoin in USA

Where else in the US is it cheap to mine?

In their study, CESCO also estimated the cost of Bitcoin mining based on the wattage consumption of the three most popular mining rigs, namely, the AntMiner S9, the AntMiner S7, and the Avalon 6, as well as the average days each rig takes to mine a token. These figures were then multiplied by the average electricity rate in each state.

Aside from Louisiana, the other top five states with the lowest cost to mine Bitcoin are Idaho ($3,289 per token), Washington ($3,309), Tennessee ($3,443) and Arkansas ($3,505).

The study also names the most expensive states for digital currency mining. The list of costliest states is led by Hawaii, which takes an average mining cost of $9,483 per coin.

Rounding up the top five states with the highest Bitcoin mining rates are Alaska ($7,059), Connecticut ($6,951), Massachusetts ($6,674) and New Hampshire ($6,425).

The growing interest in cryptocurrency has been accompanied by growing concern over the energy required to mine crypto, namely Bitcoin. Such claims have been recently countered, as a report came out claiming that put cryptocurrency mining in the larger context of energy consumption.