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Bitcoin mining company buys Penn. power plant to meet electricity needs


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Stronghold Digital Mining in Kennerdell, Pennsylvania, has joined the ranks of those mining operations that have sought to solve their power delivery challenges themselves. Unlike those companies that leverage regional hydroelectric power or others leveraging energy credits and payments from their respective states, Stronghold recently purchased the Scrubgrass power plant in Venango County, Pennsylvania. According to Stronghold, who advertises their organization as an “environmentally beneficial and vertically integrated Bitcoin miner,” the plant will burn Pennsylvania’s waste coal to power on-site mining hardware located in shipping containers next to the plant. Waste coal is the residual material left over following coal mining operations; it can be particularly harmful to the environment by leaching metals such as aluminum, iron, and manganese into the soil and surrounding water sources.

 

Stronghold plans to claim and burn waste coal, then deliver the previously contaminated reclaimed land back to the state via the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Current DEP statistics claim that so far, Stronghold has helped to reclaim more than 1,000 acres of Pennsylvania land. Despite the ability to burn the waste and minimize the threat of contamination, the waste coal still produces a significant amount of carbon dioxide. These types of emissions are an ongoing concern to environmental watchdog groups monitoring Bitcoin’s energy and pollution footprint.

 

 

I don't know enough about waste coal to form an informed opinion on this but it seems crazy to me that mining reached this point and it's news like this that makes me think mining will eventually be regulated or even outlawed. 

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8 hours ago, Diffident said:

If mining is outlawed, we would no longer be living in a free society.

Lots of things in our society are regulated or outlawed. Adding one more thing to the list wouldn't be the end of a "free" society. 

 

With that said I don't think it would ever be regulated here for any reason other than it uses a lot of power and creates a lot of e-waste during a time when those things are becoming larger issues but I don't think it's likely to happen anyway. 

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I was thinking about this yesterday and I think I came up with a good metaphor for Bitcoin mining. 

 

Imagine if someone was paying people to drive on the freeway. Doesn't matter where they went, they just had to get on the freeway and drive for a while and they would be paid. It wouldn't really make sense why driving around was suddenly profitable, and it would cause more traffic, more pollution from cars. People would start to wonder if there should be a law against driving around for no reason other than getting paid for it. 

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I know mining has earned a few people 'freedom' from the rat race and other small-percentage instances of financial-deficit defeat.

 

However.... my biggest gripe with mining isn't the monetary side of it, the pollution or the eventual stress on the grids.... 

 

It's just how insanely, grotesquely and fantastically awful it's been for science/useful block chain technologies.  NFT's are kinda the black eye in this respect.

 

Imagine if NFT's were replaced by science driven mechanisms instead of... digital art.  Now, I'm not saying there shouldn't be 'digital' art nor do I believe there shouldn't be a 'market' for it.  But 8-bit sprites are a hard sell for my perspective. I give credit to artists who use the opportunity for quote-on-quote 'art'... but c'mon selling fractions of a digital footprint is... NO BETTER THAN SELLING FRACTIONS OF A HOUSE AS AN 'INVESTMENT'. 

 

🤬

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14 hours ago, UltraMega said:

Lots of things in our society are regulated or outlawed. Adding one more thing to the list wouldn't be the end of a "free" society. 

 

With that said I don't think it would ever be regulated here for any reason other than it uses a lot of power and creates a lot of e-waste during a time when those things are becoming larger issues but I don't think it's likely to happen anyway. 

Mining is just mathematical computations. A task is being accomplished with coins being awarded as payment for the use of computational power.  [email protected] and boinc projects act the same way, but only points for "bragging rights" are issued as a reward.   If the reason for outlawing it is because of energy usage then [email protected] and other distributed computing projects should also be banned.

 

If we are going to pick and choose what "math" is acceptable for someone to run on their own system, than yes it would be the end of free society.

 

 

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29 minutes ago, Diffident said:

Mining is just mathematical computations. A task is being accomplished with coins being awarded as payment for the use of computational power.  [email protected] and boinc projects act the same way, but only points for "bragging rights" are issued as a reward.   If the reason for outlawing it is because of energy usage then [email protected] and other distributed computing projects should also be banned.

 

If we are going to pick and choose what "math" is acceptable for someone to run on their own system, than yes it would be the end of free society.

 

 

Thats a false equivalence because folding at home is literally scientific research, and conversely in a literal sense mining is burning electricity to turn it into money without any other purpose. It doesn't generate a product or anything, is just how much energy and GPUs does it take to get X amount of money. 

 

I agree that it would be difficult to have such a ban in most democratic places. On a personal level I think that bitcoin mining is definitely not something any government/economy system was ever designed to deal with, and an argument can be made that it's a modern problem that governments are generally too outdated to deal with; and with that in mind the only reason I would even mention it is because of the climate issues the world is facing. Seems like a bad time to be burning more and more energy just because a weird process now exists that will turn energy into a virtual token that can be sold. 

 

Abundant clean energy would be great, and it would definitely solve this problem but that's still a long way out. That's actually one of the interesting things about this particular situation though. I don't know enough about it, but from what I understand this mining setup will burn waste coal (I think it's also called coke) and in doing so it will clean up some area contaminated by waste coal. How environmentally beneficial that really is in the end is well beyond my understanding which is why I didn't comment more about this particular situation, but it raises the point of the increasing power demand from mining. China is literally shutting down factories due to power shortages and slowing down the world's supply of the same chips people want to use to mine with. Seems like a recipe for disaster and at least in China's case it's understandable why they are starting to crack down. 

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22 minutes ago, UltraMega said:

Thats a false equivalence because folding at home is literally scientific research, and conversely in a literal sense mining is burning electricity to turn it into money without any other purpose. It doesn't generate a product or anything, is just how much energy and GPUs does it take to get X amount of money. 

 

I agree that it would be difficult to have such a ban in most democratic places. On a personal level I think that bitcoin mining is definitely not something any government/economy system was ever designed to deal with, and an argument can be made that it's a modern problem that governments are generally too outdated to deal with; and with that in mind the only reason I would even mention it is because of the climate issues the world is facing. Seems like a bad time to be burning more and more energy just because a weird process now exists that will turn energy into a virtual token that can be sold. 

 

Abundant clean energy would be great, and it would definitely solve this problem but that's still a long way out. That's actually one of the interesting things about this particular situation though. I don't know enough about it, but from what I understand this mining setup will burn waste coal (I think it's also called coke) and in doing so it will clean up some area contaminated by waste coal. How environmentally beneficial that really is in the end is well beyond my understanding which is why I didn't comment more about this particular situation, but it raises the point of the increasing power demand from mining. China is literally shutting down factories due to power shortages and slowing down the world's supply of the same chips people want to use to mine with. Seems like a recipe for disaster and at least in China's case it's understandable why they are starting to crack down. 

Mining is processing transactions, it's difficult in order to give the reward value.  There a number boinc projects that some may think have no purpose, but they must have some purpose to the people who set them up.  Banning something that someone might think has no purpose isn't a valid reason.

 

 

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36 minutes ago, Diffident said:

Mining is processing transactions, it's difficult in order to give the reward value.  There a number boinc projects that some may think have no purpose, but they must have some purpose to the people who set them up.  Banning something that someone might think has no purpose isn't a valid reason.

 

 

I mean it serve no purpose for society on a large scale in contrast to something like folding which you choose as a point of comparison, not that the reward/value is completely imaginary. 

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