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The Wages of Dipshit Made Up Money

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When I become a multigazillionaire on LoomCoin, I promise to do a better job on taking care of affected communities with my bullshit made up money than Bitcoin has.

Coinmint filled the building with servers, running them 24 hours a day. When the miners wanted to expand into a nearby shopping center, Bill Treacy, the manager of the Plattsburgh municipal lighting department, told them that they would have to invest $140,000 in new infrastructure. He was surprised when they weren’t discouraged. Soon, the company was regularly drawing over 10 megawatts, enough power for about 4,000 homes.

Other miners were quick to follow. Treacy recalls one prospector calling to see if he could get five gigawatts—“I said, ‘Excuse me. That’s a quarter of what New York state uses on a given day!” Plattsburgh was soon receiving a major mining application every week.

In January 2018, there was a cold snap. People turned up their heat and plugged in space heaters. The city quickly exceeded its quota of hydropower, forcing it to buy power elsewhere at much higher rates. McMahon says his Plattsburgh home’s energy bill jumped by $30 to $40 a month. “People felt there was a problem but didn’t know what to attribute it to,” he says.

As the long winter began to thaw, neighbors noticed a new disturbance: mining servers generate an extreme amount of heat, requiring extensive ventilation to avert shutoffs. Those fans generated a constant, high-frequency whine, McMahon says, “like a small-engine plane getting ready to take off.” It wasn’t just the decibels, but the pitch: “It registers at this weird level, like a toothache that won’t go away.” Carla Brancato lives across the river from Zafra, a crypto-mining and hosting company owned by Plattsburgh resident Ryan Brienza. She says that for several years her condo vibrated from its noise, as if someone were constantly running a vacuum upstairs. 

Meanwhile, the automated nature of these servers meant that the new mines provided few local jobs. “I’m pro–­economic development,” Read says, “but the biggest mine operation has fewer jobs than a new McDonald’s.” Plattsburgh doesn’t have a city income tax, and most miners lease their buildings, meaning they aren’t paying property taxes. Elizabeth Gibbs, a city councilor, was shocked when she went to tour one of the operations. “I was blown away by how hot it was—so hot and so loud,” she says. She describes a warehouse filled with hundreds of servers in stacks, connected by umbilical-like wires, with doors and windows left wide open to let cool air in.

Destroying the climate for made up money while the poor in the broke down town you’ve placed your servers can’t pay their newly skyrocketing electric bills is the ultimate in the New Gilded Age.

….And in other news from the idiocracy of the early 21st century.

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