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A Bitcoin Boom Fueled by Cheap Power, Empty Plants, and Few Rules


Fans cooling a Bitcoin mining operation at the Mechanicville Hydroelectric Plant in Mechanicville, NY.

In just a few years, a swath of northern and western New York has become one of the biggest Bitcoin producers in the country.

Credit: Cindy Schultz/The New York Times

A bitcoin mining operation is opening northeast of Niagara Falls this month on the site of the last working coal plant in New York State.

Across the state, a former aluminum plant in Massena, already one of the biggest cryptocurrency sites in the United States, is expanding.

And in Owego, a metal-recycling mogul with 11.3 million Instagram followers is making a gritty start-up with banks of computers in shipping containers next to a scrapyard.

Soaring Bitcoin values may be the investment talk of Wall Street, but a few hours north, in upstate New York, the buzz is about companies that are scrambling to create the digital currency by "mining" it virtually with all types and sizes of computer farms constantly whizzing through transactions.

From The New York Times
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