County Planners Investigate ‘Low-Profile’ Cryptocurrency Mining Setup – Claiborne Progress

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The Claiborne County Planning Commission has been alerted to the seemingly low-key start of a cryptocurrency mining facility located on several acres of pastureland near the southern tip of the county.

According to county planner Whitt Shuford, anyone who owns or operates the facility is in violation for not reporting to county planners before securing the land and building the site.

The issue is on the agenda for discussion at the next meeting of the Planning Commission, scheduled for February 2.

A neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, said he first noticed ongoing excavations followed by the installation of metal huts on the site.

He says he was intrigued when he saw a strip of utility poles erected by linemen from the Powell Valley Electric Cooperative. He decided to investigate, saying he had been told the site was being prepared to house a cryptocurrency mining operation.

The neighbor admitted that he knew little about crypto mining, but became alarmed when he decided to research the matter. Among the main concerns, he said, are the exorbitant use of local electricity and internet services and the huge noise figure associated with the high industrial cooling fans needed to keep a battery of systems running smoothly. computers.

A similar operation came under scrutiny from neighboring Jonesborough officials when several neighbors complained about the noise. At a meeting of the Washington County Commission, a neighbor described how the “incessant hum” of cooling fans drowned out the peaceful sounds coming from the Nolichucky River flowing near his rural home. This, despite the fact that the bitcoin site is located over a mile away.

Digiconomist, a cryptocurrency tracking site, estimates that bitcoin mining consumes around 3.4 GW of energy (or 30 terawatt-hours) per year (2017 estimate) and expects the consumption of energy only increases.

Cheap electricity seems to be the magnet for these types of mining operations. Plattsburgh, NY is a city that has seen its fair share of bitcoin miners due to its low electricity costs. In its report, News Channel 11out of Jonesborough states that approximately 10% of Plattsburgh’s power supply is consumed by bitcoin miners, forcing the city to purchase additional electricity “on the open market” at a cost of approximately 100 times its base cost. .

The report says a manufacturing plant that currently consumes about 10% of the city’s electricity employs nearly 200 workers while the bitcoin mine employs no one except a few security guards.

As a result, municipal offices, community schools, the local hospital and all other community businesses are now paying significantly more for electricity, according to the report.

A good number of these cryptocurrency mining operations slip into a rural town without registering or letting city or county officials know of their plans and proceed to hack into local computers.

Many of these operations have come under cybercriminal investigation, according to the report, as their growing popularity has led to more cases of malware infecting systems and devices.

The Harvard Odyssey supercomputer cluster and National Science Foundation supercomputers have been used in similar illicit mining operations. In 2017, one of the US Federal Reserve’s servers was misused to mine bitcoins.

These types of malware uses the same malware containing spam emails and downloads from malicious URLs to unwanted software and potentially unwanted applications. Vulnerability in Yahoo! The Java-based ad network was compromised in January 2014, exposing European end users to malicious advertisements that delivered bitcoin mining malware.

No computer or device is immune to attack. Windows has seen the most bitcoin mining activity. However, Macintosh OS systems, including iOS devices (iPhone 4 to iPhone 7), home routers, environmental monitoring devices used in data centers, Android-based smart TVs, mobile devices, and IP cameras, print servers and game consoles fell victim to the malware. .

Cryptocurrency is described as an encrypted string of data indicating a monetary unit and is monitored and organized by a peer-to-peer network also known as blockchain which serves as a secure transaction ledger for buying, selling and transfer.

Cryptocurrencies are not issued by governments or other financial institutions and are created through cryptographic algorithms maintained and confirmed in a process called mining.

The matter is set to be discussed at the Claiborne County Regional Planning Commission on February 2, beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the Claiborne County Courthouse Grand Courtroom. These meetings are open to the public.

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