Excavating the Truth Around the Bitcoin Mining Discourse


Final yr, a bunch of CoinDesk reporters traveled to Seneca Lake to look at the impact Greenidge Era – a resurrected energy plant that now mines bitcoin – had on the encompassing communities. Although we anticipated to listen to locals say they disliked the plant and its continued operation, we discovered the alternative.

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Misinformation snowball

The narrative

Bitcoin mining is proving more and more controversial, partly because of the sheer vitality wants and partly as a result of the crypto neighborhood hasn’t but satisfied its critics that there’s worth to this complete factor.

Why it issues

A lot of the talk round crypto mining lacks nuance or context.

These debates are having an affect on coverage, and the dearth of correct details about these datacenters is straight affecting individuals who reside close to them. We’re seeing each side of this debate get based mostly on another actuality, what my colleague Cheyenne Ligon described as a “misinformation snowball.” At this time’s article is an effort to tamp that down, no less than as this subject pertains to Greenidge Era, a facility working on the shore of Seneca Lake, New York.

Breaking it down

Final summer time, CoinDesk’s Cheyenne Ligon, Doreen Wang and Nolen Hayes and I drove to Dresden, N.Y. to go to the controversial Greenidge Era mining facility. My expectation was we’d discover a energy plant that infuriated its neighbors, sparked algal blooms in close by Seneca Lake and adversely affected the broader neighborhood.

Greenidge, in any case, was the supply of many headlines, starting from stories about the way it was boiling the waterways to introducing contemporary air pollution to the fragile environments close by.

What we discovered was one thing completely completely different, refuting my prior expectations and demonstrating that the state of affairs was way more advanced and nuanced than anticipated – and probably distinctive among the many broader crypto mining dialog within the U.S.

CoinDesk’s report, which we printed earlier at the moment, will be discovered right here. I needed to additionally provide a first-person perspective on how we reported this story and what we realized.

One vital disclaimer: This report solely focuses on the experiences of 1 neighborhood in a singular setting. Different mining services faucet into current vitality grids or construct their very own warehouses, and people communities could have their very own experiences. In different phrases, our report at the moment focuses on Greenidge Era and its surrounding communities. It can’t be in comparison with Riot Platforms in Rockdale, Texas or rogue mining operations in Chelan County, Washington and even Coinmint in close by Plattsburgh, N.Y.

We make this similar level within the article itself as a result of it’s price making. The article isn’t a protection of bitcoin mining or the philosophical query of whether or not bitcoin is well worth the vitality prices. Our objective is to point out how a dialog that doesn’t embody the folks most straight impacted can result in wonky outcomes.

One of the vital beautiful claims we uncovered in reporting this text was that nobody – not one of the critics or lawmakers passing laws attributable to Greenidge, nor any of the bitcoiners defending the trade – had reached out to the cities close to the ability. William Corridor, the mayor of Dresden, N.Y., instructed us “no one has ever come to speak to us about” Greenidge. We checked once more previous to publication – we’re nonetheless the one ones to have visited.

Between this and the cascading sequence of failures and bankruptcies that shook the crypto market over the previous few months, we weren’t in a position to method this text with the eye it deserved.

Then, earlier this yr, we noticed Congressional hearings on the state and federal degree addressing crypto mining – and no less than one of many witnesses made claims that have been clearly inaccurate.

That led to at the moment’s article, spearheaded by Cheyenne. The controversy round crypto mining is clearly driving coverage, and so it’s price persevering with to make clear the fact on the bottom.

On a private be aware, this report marks the final main items printed by Cheyenne and Doreen, each of whom have been a pleasure to work with and who will likely be missed. I’ll simply say I’d prefer to thank them for his or her contributions and need them properly on their future journeys.

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