Who are the miners in blockchain

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WATCH RELATED VIDEO: What is Bitcoin Mining?

Iran bans cryptocurrency mining for four months after blackouts


Summer on Seneca Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes in upstate New York, is usually a time of boating, fishing, swimming and wine tasting. But for many residents of this bucolic region, there's a new activity this season — protesting a gas-fired power plant that they say is polluting the air and heating the lake.

They have increased the electrical power output at the gas-fired plant in the past year and a half and use much of the fossil-fuel energy not to keep the lights on in surrounding towns but for the energy-intensive "mining" of bitcoins.

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency — a digital form of money with no actual bills or coins. The computers earn small rewards of bitcoin by verifying transactions in the currency that occur on the internet around the world. The math required to verify the transactions and earn bitcoins gets more complex all the time and demands more and more computer power.

An estimate from the University of Cambridge says global bitcoin miners use more energy in a year than Chile. When the energy comes from fossil fuels, the process can add significantly to carbon emissions.

The Greenidge plant houses at least 8, computers and is looking to install more, meaning it will have to burn even more natural gas to produce more energy. Private equity firms like Atlas buy companies, often using debt, and hope to sell them later at a profit.

They are secretive operations with investments that can be hard to track. As investor criticism prompts some public companies to dump fossil fuel assets, private equity firms are ready buyers. In a report last fall, the Environmental Assessment Office, a provincial agency, said the project failed to comply on 16 of 17 items inspected. As a result, Coastal GasLink was ordered to hire an independent auditor to monitor its work to prevent site runoff that can pollute streams and harm fish.

Because private equity firms expect to hold their investments for only a few years, they often keep alive fossil-fuel operations that would otherwise be mothballed, said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group. In , for instance, the private equity firm ArcLight Capital Partners of Boston bought into Limetree Bay, an oil refinery and storage facility in St.

Croix in the U. Virgin Islands. The operation had gone bankrupt after a series of toxic spills, but it reopened in February. Just three months later, it was shuttered after it unleashed petroleum rain on nearby neighborhoods. A spokeswoman for ArcLight said the firm "takes its responsibilities to protect the environment and support local communities seriously and will continue to strive to meet the highest standards. Because private equity firms are secretive, their investors may not know what they own or the risks, said Alyssa Giachino of the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, a nonprofit organization that examines the industry's impact on communities.

She said pension funds and their beneficiaries may end up with more fossil fuel exposure than they realize and may not have a full appreciation of the risks. They include heavy impacts on communities of color, risks of litigation and environmental penalties and long-term climate effects, she said. KKR is a huge energy investor on behalf of endowments, public pensions and other institutional investors.

Like many of its private equity brethren, KKR has deployed far more money in conventional energy assets like the Coastal GasLink Pipeline than in renewables. KKR didn't dispute those figures in emails. KKR's spokeswoman said the firm is "committed to investing in a stable energy transition, one that supports a shift to a clean energy future while recognizing the ongoing importance of supplying the conventional energy needed for well-being and economic growth around the world today.

KKR recently added a team focused on energy transition investments in North America. Private equity investors sometimes "leave behind messes for someone else to clean up," said Clark Williams-Derry, energy analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

The lakeshore facility is operating within its federal and state environmental permits, he said, and it has created 31 jobs, a company-commissioned report shows. Williams-Derry said cryptocurrency's potential profits add to the appeal of buying low-cost and carbon-intensive power plants. While natural gas-fired plants like Greenidge's in New York aren't as problematic as those that use coal, they still generate damaging greenhouse gases, he said.

Kirt said that after Greenidge took over the plant, it sought ways to earn higher returns on its surplus energy. It struck gold with bitcoin mining. During the 12 months that ended Feb.

Greenidge's owner, the private equity firm Atlas, is on a roll. Atlas bought the acre coal-fired Greenidge plant in , three years after it had closed. Converted to natural gas, the almost year-old plant began operations in , generating energy to the grid only at times of high demand.

In , Greenidge began using the plant to power bitcoin mining and increased its output. It still supplies surplus power to the local electrical grid, but a lot of the power it generates is now used for bitcoin mining.

And it has plans for expansion at Greenidge and elsewhere, company documents show. Last week, Greenidge announced a new bitcoin mining operation at a retired printing plant Atlas owns in Spartanburg, South Carolina. In March, Greenidge said its Bitcoin mining capacity of 19 megawatts should reach 45 megawatts by December and may ramp to megawatts by as it replicates its model elsewhere.

Larger gas-fired plants in the U. Also in March, Greenidge announced a merger with Support. The deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, will give Atlas control of the merged company and access to public investor money.

Andrew Bursky, founder of Atlas, owns half to three-quarters of Atlas, a regulatory filing shows. Neither Atlas nor Bursky would comment for this article. Greenidge, which disputes that view, said last month that its operations would soon be carbon neutral. It is buying credits that offset the plant's emissions from an array of U. Judith Enck, a former regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency who is a senior fellow and visiting faculty member at Bennington College in Vermont, has doubts.

So far, legal challenges to the Greenidge operation have failed. Materials issued by Greenidge say state environmental authorities have determined that the plant "does not have a significant impact on the environment. Still, emissions from the plant are rocketing. At the end of last year, even though it was operating at only 13 percent capacity, the plant's carbon dioxide equivalent emissions totaled , tons, up from 28, tons in January, according to regulatory documents Earth Justice received under an open records request.

Before it began mining bitcoins, the plant generated carbon emissions of , tons in and 39, tons in , federal documents show. On June 5, residents staged a protest against the plant at a nearby Department of Environmental Conservation office in Avon.

If regulators don't rein in the Greenidge plant, they say, 30 other power plants in New York could be converted to bitcoin mining, imperiling the state's emission-reduction goals. As the greenhouse gas emissions associated with this type of facility may be precedential and have broader implications beyond New York's borders, DEC will consult with the U.

Water usage by Greenidge is another problem, residents said. The current permit allows Greenidge to take in million gallons of water and discharge million gallons daily, at temperatures as high as degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and 86 degrees in winter, documents show. Rising water temperatures can stress fish and promote toxic algae blooms, the EPA says. A full thermal study hasn't been produced and won't be until , but residents protesting the plant say the lake is warmer with Greenidge operating.

Greenidge recently published average discharged water temperatures from March 1 to April 17, during the trout spawning season; they were around 46 degrees to 54 degrees, with differences between inflow and outflow of 5 degrees to 7. From June 7 to July 6, Greenidge said, water temperatures recorded at a buoy about 10 miles north of the Greenidge plant and at a depty of three-and-a-half feet have averaged The low of 61 degrees occurred on June 7 and the high of 73 was recorded on July 1.

Over longer periods, temperatures have spiked, however. NBC News reviewed a February email from the DEC to a resident stating that since , the plant's daily maximum discharge temperatures have been 98 degrees in the summer and 70 degrees in winter. The Greenidge spokesperson said, "The limits already protect the lake's fishery and the public health, and they have been clearly validated as not concerning.

Not everyone wants Greenidge gone. Gwen Chamberlain, a former local newspaper editor, is one of three members of a community advisory board working with Greenidge to advance the region's economy. Peter Mantius, a former journalist who writes about environmental politics in the region , said the payments, while greater than zero, are far less than what the plant once generated, thanks to a favorable tax assessment arrangement. Meanwhile, residents like Buddington feel compelled to keep fighting.

IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser. NBC News Logo. Search Search. Follow NBC News. Link copied. By Gretchen Morgenson. Power plant repurposed to mine bitcoins July 4, Inside one of the country's largest cryptocurrency mines Part 1 July 5, Inside one of the country's largest cryptocurrency mines Part 2 July 5, Gretchen Morgenson.



Bitcoin Mining is Bad for the World: The Limited Options for Addressing the Problem

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Mining is the process that Bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies use to generate new coins and verify new transactions. It involves vast, decentralized.

How cryptocurrency has created a new generation of 'miners'

Bitcoin mining is the process by which new bitcoins are entered into circulation. It is also the way the network confirms new transactions and is a critical component of the blockchain ledger's maintenance and development. The first computer to find the solution to the problem receives the next block of bitcoins and the process begins again. Cryptocurrency mining is painstaking, costly, and only sporadically rewarding. Nonetheless, mining has a magnetic appeal for many investors who are interested in cryptocurrency because of the fact that miners receive rewards for their work with crypto tokens. This may be because entrepreneurial types see mining as pennies from heaven, like California gold prospectors in And if you are technologically inclined, why not do it?


Used To Free Electricity, Kosovo's Bitcoin Miners Are Now Facing Difficult Times After Ban

who are the miners in blockchain

Speculators rush to sell off their kit as Balkan state announces a crypto clampdown to ease electricity crisis. The largest-scale crypto mining is thought to be taking place in the north of the country, where the Serb-majority population refuse to recognise Kosovo as an independent state and have consequently not paid for electricity for more than two decades. There is serious money to be made — and in a time of ready energy supply it was being made. The number of people mining cryptocurrencies in Kosovo is thought to have skyrocketed in recent years.

Making it all the sweeter is the fact Dragan pays nothing for electricity, used in abundance in such energy-demanding operations involving complex computer calculations to verify transactions. His decision came after authorities in Kosovo announced on January 4 a blanket ban on cryptocurrency mining amid an energy crisis in the Southeastern European country of some 1.

Panic as Kosovo pulls the plug on its energy-guzzling bitcoin miners

Welcome to Finextra. We use cookies to help us to deliver our services. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you may change your preferences at our Cookie Centre. Please read our Privacy Policy. Blockchain has always been presented as providing speed, efficiency and low costs. But there is also a flipside.


What is Bitcoin mining and how does it work?

Skip to Main Content. A not-for-profit organization, IEEE is the world's largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Use of this web site signifies your agreement to the terms and conditions. An Efficient Miner Strategy for Selecting Cryptocurrency Transactions Abstract: Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin use the blockchain technology to record transactions in a distributed and secure way. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block in addition to a set of transactions that it records. The first step for a miner to add a new block to the blockchain is to select a set of pending transactions from a mempool. The total size of selected transactions should not exceed the fixed capacity of blocks. If a miner completes the computationally-hard task of finding the cryptographic hash of the formed block, the block can be added to the blockchain in which case the transactions in that block will become complete.

Mining -- which uses powerful computers, or servers, to solve math problems and order transactions on Bitcoin's blockchain -- is a costly.

Bitcoin Miners Flock to New York’s Remote Corners, but Get Chilly Reception

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Crypto mining – PC enthusiast’s worst nightmare or necessary evil

RELATED VIDEO: Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining explained

The Australian government has just recognized digital currency as a legal payment method. Since July 1, purchases done using digital currencies such as bitcoin are exempt from the country's Goods and Services Tax to avoid double taxation. As such, traders and investors will not be levied taxes for buying and selling them through legal exchange platforms. Japan, which legitimized bitcoin as a form of payment last April, already expects more than 20, merchants to accept bitcoin payments. Other countries are joining the bandwagon, albeit partially: businesses and some of the public organizations in Switzerland, Norway , and the Netherlands. In a recent study , unique, active users of cryptocurrency wallets are pegged between 2.

Hong Kong CNN Business Chinese authorities are ramping up a crackdown on crypto mining, calling it an "extremely harmful" practice that threatens to jeopardize the country's efforts to reduce carbon emissions. More Videos

The secret lives of students who mine cryptocurrency in their dorm rooms

But in the last seven months, their operation has grown substantially. It's become a lucrative business, which they've called Flifer Technologies. Bitcoin is the largest cryptocurrency by market value. Ether is the second-largest and is native to the Ethereum blockchain. And ravencoin is an altcoin amid the top

These are the core obsessions that drive our newsroom—defining topics of seismic importance to the global economy. Our emails are made to shine in your inbox, with something fresh every morning, afternoon, and weekend. Mark was a sophomore at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when he began mining cryptocurrencies more or less by accident.


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