Bitcoin Miners Met With Chilly Reception in New York

Crypto speculators are attracted by the abundance of cheap electricity, but the community isn't impressed.

Bitcoin (Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images)

In Massena, New York, a hulking aluminum plant has started to make noise again, four years after Alcoa shut it down. But things are different this time: the sound is coming from thousands of Chinese computer servers whirring away 24 hours a day, producing Bitcoin and other digital currencies. The machines are powered by the same cheap source of electricity once used to extract aluminum from ore, reports The New York Times.

Coinmint, the company behind the machines, is trying to convert the 60-year-old smelting works into the world’s biggest cryptocurrency mine. The company has led an influx of entrepreneurs, who all want to capitalize on the soaring value of digital currencies like Bitcoin, to the economically depressed region. But their arrival has been met with wariness and fear.

The iconic corporations that abandoned plants in Massena left behind abundant, cheap electricity flowing from a dam in the St. Lawrence River. But most locals only heard of cryptocurrency when their utility bills increased last winter, the same time learning that start up ventures cashing in on the Bitcoin boom were responsible.

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