New Power Rates Approved for Crypto Miners in Upstate New York


A municipal utility provider in New York got the green light from state regulators to create a new set of electricity rates for cryptocurrency miners.

The move by the The New York State Public Service Commission was announced Thursday, allowing the Massena Electric Department to «allow high-density load customers, such as cryptocurrency companies, to qualify for service under an individual service agreement.»

While primarily an administrative move, it's a potentially significant development for cryptocurrency miners hoping to tap the hydroelectrical resources located in New York.

A senior official for the commission said that the decision was based on a desire to balance the need to charge «fair» rates while also attracting business to the region.

Commission chairman John Rhodes said in a statement:

«We must ensure that business customers pay a fair price for the electricity that they consume. However, given the abundance of low-cost electricity in upstate New York, there is an opportunity to serve the needs of existing customers and to encourage economic development in the region.»

The newly approved rule will allow any electricity customers with a maximum demand of electricity over 300 kilowatt-hours to qualify for service under a negotiated contract. The contracts will be reviewed by Massena's municipal utility and must «protect existing customers from increased supply costs resulting from the new service.»

Thursday's move wasn't the first of its kind out of the Commission – earlier this year, the body approved a bid to levy miners with higher rates in the form of a new tariff.

The decision came in response to a petition filed by the New York Municipal Power Agency (NYMPA), which expressed concern that local residents may experience higher rates due to the higher-than-average consumption rates of miners.

Chinese Police Arrest Crypto Miner for Power Theft


Authorities in China have arrested a man for allegedly stealing a significant amount of power in order to fuel a clandestine cryptocurrency mine.

Police in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui Province seized more than 200 computers used for bitcoin and ether mining after the local power grid company reported a spike in electricity use, according to Xinhua news agency.

One suspect allegedly stole 150,000 kW hours of electricity between April and May 2018, when the power grid first alerted police of the theft. The Chinese national, identified only by his surname Ma, reportedly told police that he dreamed of making money through crypto mining.

He bought the hardware in April, but later found out the daily power cost was over 6,000 yuan ($921). As a result, Ma said, his mining operation was not profitable at the time of his arrest.

Allegations of power theft have led to the arrest of bitcoin miners in China before. In April, there were at least two cases where bitcoin miners were taken into custody for allegedly stealing power, as previously reported by CoinDesk.

In another instance, six individuals were arrested in Tianjin. Police alleged that the suspects used 600 cryptocurrency miners to generate bitcoin with power taken from the local power grid. Xinhua News agency said that this may have been the «largest power theft case in recent years.»

Quebec Is Weighing A Plan to Sell 500 Megawatts to Crypto Miners


Quebec's public power utility has submitted plans to the provincial government that could clear the way for Hydro-Quebec to set up a new framework through which to work with cryptocurrency miners.

The plan, if approved, would create a selection process by which Hydro-Quebec will parcel out 500 megawatts worth of power to crypto miners. In a statement last week, the utility said its pitch to the Régie de l'énergie that, if approved, would allow miners to submit bids that Hydro-Quebec would consider based on their ability to create jobs and economic benefits to Quebec.

Hydro-Quebec suggested that it is seeking a speedy solution to the issue – the subject of a moratorium on new approvals issued earlier this month, citing an «unprecedented» level of demand.

The utility also wants to put a cap on the amount of power that crypto-miners can draw during the year, in an effort to free up power for other customers. That concern has been at the heart of many of the disputes seen in North America between crypto miners, local governments and residents.

Hydro-Quebec wrote:

«The economic analysis will favor customers who will be ready to operate their facilities as quickly as possible. In addition, Hydro-Québec could request that these customers decrease their electricity use, for a maximum of 300 hours per year, to allow it to ensure the delivery of electricity to all of its customers, particularly during the winter peak period.»

Hydro-Quebec indicated earlier this year that it would not be able to support all of the demand it has seen, according to a document published in March.

Apple Blocks Crypto Mining Apps On Its Products


Apple has moved to put a stop to any crypto-mining apps that might be used on its mobile products.

In a recent update, the personal computing company expanded its initial guidelines on cryptocurrencies. Before, the guidelines specified apps facilitating cryptocurrency exchange and/or initial coin offerings (ICOs) must comply with all applicable state and federal laws.

Now, the guidelines specify more than that. In five bullet points, the guidelines run through Apple's policy on wallets, mining, exchanges, ICOs, and rewards that take the form of cryptocurrency.

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Secret ASICs for the People: Obelisk Reveals Plan to Fight Big Miners


If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

The age-old idiom may be particularly relevant for David Vorick, the co-founder of the Sia blockchain, whose new project aims to fight powerful crypto mining chip manufacturers by bringing competition to the sector. To do this, Vorick launched Obelisk, a new chip manufacturing business last year, an effort he later unveiled in a widely seen blog post in May.

As revealed exclusively to CoinDesk today, however, Vorick intends to begin developing proof-of-work algorithms for new cryptocurrencies. That project, called Launchpad, expects teams developing new cryptocurrencies to hire Obelisk to design a custom proof-of-work algorithm as well as the ASIC hardware that works on that algorithm – all in secret.

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Crypto's War On Miners? It Might Already Be Over


Brick 'em? Maybe not anymore.

What was once a phrase that echoed across message boards, one that defined an aggressive shift in sentiment against the companies that today make hardware required to run cryptocurrency software, is falling out a fashion as the so-called 'War on Miners' enters a less decisive period.

Indeed, in the wake of new research and analysis, leading developers now appear to believe that standing in the way of a shifting mining landscape might be hopeless. At least, that was the testimony of many blockchain software developers at Consensus 2018, who indicated that hardware manufacturer Bitmain's recent distribution of high-performance ASIC miners is proof of their inevitability for all cryptocurrencies.

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War On Miners? Maybe Not On This $2 Billion Blockchain


One of the world's largest cryptocurrencies could soon put out a welcome mat for more controversial miners — that is, if one of its core developers has his way.

Indeed, amidst what has been broadly called a «war on miners,» with cryptocurrencies including ethereum, monero and siacoin taking aggressive steps to limit the effectiveness of certain types of hardware, developer Cody Burns has published a proposal that would alter ethereum classic's underlying algorithm to accommodate the technology.

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Alleged Bitcoin Miner Thief Says Police Held Him 'Without Evidence'


The accused mastermind of Iceland's «Big Bitcoin Heist» says that he was free to travel when he escaped from a low-security prison and flew to Sweden last week.

Sindri Thor Stefansson has been accused of spearheading the theft of 600 bitcoin mining computers- hardware worth roughly $2 million — during incidents between December and January. Stefansson sparked headlines last week after he left the prison on Tuesday and traveled by plane to Sweden on a flight that he reportedly shared with Iceland's prime minister.

Yet in a letter sent to Icelandic newspaper Frettabladid last week, Stefansson claimed he held with no evidence for months prior to his escape. He further asserted that the order of detention against him expired on April 16, and that when police attempted to extend his custody by another 10 days, a judge deferred that decision for another day. As a result, during the time of the escape, Stefansson claimed, he was legally free to go.
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Chip Maker TSMC Breaks Sales Record on Bitcoin Mining Boost


The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has reported strong financial results in the first quarter of 2018, figures driven by a growth in orders for cryptocurrency mining chips.

During its shareholder conference call on Thursday, the world's largest independent semiconductor maker said it generated 248 billion Taiwan new dollars (US$8.5 billion) in sales revenue for Q1 — a year-on-year increase of 6.1 percent. Furthermore, the company saw NT$89 billion (US$3 billion) in net income, reflecting a 2.5 percent growth year-on-year.

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