WENATCHEE – Low-cost electricity tariffs that have led cryptocurrency operations to Chelan County soon become a thing of the past.
Chudan County PUD is proposing tariffs that could reduce bitcoin mining and other encryption operations outside residential areas and set an average rate of about 5.5 cents per kilowatt hour of energy – about 72 percent higher than the applied one for domestic use.
The PUD opened a public assembly on Monday to hear taxpayers on the matter, ahead of the planned vote on 20 August.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoins exist only on blockchains – transaction logs distributed over computer networks. Crypto users "reduce" the value by using specialized software to solve algorithmic puzzles and unlock more currency. It takes a lot of computing power, and therefore a lot of electricity.
Bitcoin's real-world value has wildly fluctuated in recent years, from nearly $ 20,000 last December to less than $ 7,000 on Monday. The peaks of value have pushed more and more users to request the PUD's economic hydropower.
"As the price of Bitcoin increases and lowers and grows, we have different demands, different loads, different customer profiles, as these things happen," said Lindsay Mohns, the PUD business manager for customer utilities. "Things out of our control are affecting our systems."
This prompted the PUD to propose a new class of customers, only for blockchain operations, which would encourage them to situate themselves in commercial or industrial areas where delivery lines do not get overloaded. If you get caught illegally while running a Bitcoin operation from your home, you will be charged the highest applicable rate.
PUD Director-General Steve Wright said the utility is trying to put the needle into a customer sector that represents an important economic change.
"We have people very worried about the fact that this is a new industry that involves many risks and that ultimately, that risk will be transferred to them – that investments will be needed, and maybe these companies have won" Stay around to pay those investments, and then, (the tax payers) will end up paying for it, "said PUD general manager Steve Wright." On the other hand, we have an interest in terms of, there is a & here Opportunity for a unique form of economic development, associated with technological innovation. "
Malachi Salcido, who has invested heavily in blockchain computing in the Wenatchee Valley, has asked Commissioners to consider the possibility of load existing energy loads like yours and apply new rates only to new encrypted customers.
"For myself and other similar customers, it's really important to know what my energy rate will be, my electricity rate of operating costs, and even that remains relatively stable, "said Salcido.
Ryan Ochoa, a small Wenatchee cryptocurrency operator, told the PUD commissioners that blockchain has many more potential uses, such confidential data.  "This is the beginning of a solution to the problem we are seeing today in technology," said Ochoa. "Cryptocurrency, it's a good application, it's a distributed network, it makes a lot of sense, but there are uses far beyond, and with that things will change"
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