May 3, 2022

Massena town board extends cryptocurrency mining moratorium

MASSENA, New York (WWNY) – Town of Massena citizens vented concerns about cryptocurrency at a public hearing Wednesday night.

There are concerns about what developers call a data center planned for farmland along a town of Massena road. There are concerns about what a cryptocurrency miner plans for a corner near Massena Center.

“My concern, too, is with these big shipping containers, if that’s what they’re going to be using,” Massena Center resident Mary Ann Kormanyos-Childs said. “And what’s going to happen with these computers when they need to get rid of them.”

Container mining is already going on along County Route 42. And big shipping containers hold computers at the former Alcoa East.

How the power-hungry mining operations might impact the price of electricity is also a concern.

“More of our hydropower that’s sucked up and wasted, in my opinion, by cryptocurrency,” former Massena town supervisor Joe Gray said, “is the more purchased power we have to buy and that we all pay for.”

Town attorney Eric Gustafson responded that the idea is to have the mining operations purchase market-rate power off the grid, not New York Power Authority electricity from the dams.

It’s the unknowns of cryptocurrency that unsettle residents. And so far, they don’t have enough answers to their questions.

A representative of Mission Peak Computing said they don’t plan to mine cryptocurrencies. Dan Ramsay said the building they plan for Haverstock Road would be a data center.

He said the company would welcome regulations from the town, but “not extended to the point where it disincentivizes legitimate business interests from coming to this area.”

Wednesday night the town board voted unanimously to extend its current moratorium on new cryptocurrency operations until April 30.

A town board subcommittee is prepping the way for cryptocurrency regulation.

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