A small town three hours east of Seattle is turning into the epicenter of bitcoin mining in the United States.
Wenatchee, Washington is home to a dozen of the largest bitcoin and cryptocurrency miners in the country. And the head of the local power utility, Steve Wright, says another 75 have inquired about coming here since the price of bitcoin surged in December.
"We've come from just a few people out there who have been knocking on the door all of a sudden to people who are banging on the door pretty loudly," Wright said.
Malachi Salcido is one of the area's earliest miners. He runs 3 mining operations in the area, producing 5 to 7 bitcoins per day.
Salcido uses 7.5 megawatts of power â enough to power 11,000 homes. He wants to produce 50 bitcoins per day by July, which would require a whopping 42 megawatts of power.
That's why he's in Wenatchee: Power is extremely cheap â between 2 to 3 cents per kilowatt hour.
The reason? A series of dams on the Columbia River provide abundant hydroelectric power.
But it's not just the cheap power. Cooler temperatures help keep the servers at the right temperature. And for a small town Wenatchee has great internet capacity.
"So we have not only low-cost electricity but also very good access to internet," says Wright. "People put those two together and think 'opportunity for bitcoin'."
The deluge of wannabe miners has the utility regulator worried.
"What we don't want is people who come here to make a quick buck off of our low-cost electricity and then leave town and leave us holding the bag, and leave the people of this community holding the bag," Wright said.
Despite the low-cost electricity, Salcido says his monthly electric bills top $100,000.
But to him, the cost is worth it.
"We mine bitcoin because bitcoin blockchain is becoming the cashless, peer-to-peer payment settlement system of the future," Salcido said.
"This is a true peer-to-peer settlement tech that once it's mature is going to significantly disrupt these existing markets and it's going to make new direct purchase options available that there are not tech options available currently on the market," he said.
Major Crypto Exchanges Face Action Over Money-Laundering Fears
Japan's financial watchdog is reportedly planning to force improvements at a number of licensed cryptocurrency exchanges over perceived issues with internal systems, including anti-money laundering (A
$7,000? Bitcoin Looks North After Six-Day High
Despite the bearish chart setup, bitcoin (BTC) rose to a six-day high on Monday, putting a corrective rally to $7,000 back on the map.
The leading cryptocurrency unexpectedly picked up a bid around
China’s Official People’s Daily Highlights Taiwan’s Bitcoin and ICO Regulation
June 19, the overseas version of People’s Daily reported that, Taiwan intends to incorporate Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and bitcoin trading into its regulatory framework due to the ICO and cryptocu
China’s Recruitment Platform 51Job Hit By Data Breach, 1.9 Million Pieces of Users’ Data Sold For 12 Bitcoins On Dark Web
It’s no secret that personal data stolen by hackers ends up on the dark web. More than 1.9 million pieces of personal data on 51job, Inc. (Nasdaq: JOBS), one of the largest online recruitment platf
Internet Cafes Hacked to Mine $800,000 in Siacoin Cryptocurrency
A group of hackers has allegedly colluded with computer maintenance firms in China to hack into computers owned by internet cafes to mine cryptocurrency.
According to a local news report on Saturda
UBS CEO: Blockchain Is 'Almost A Must' for Business
The CEO of Swiss financial services giant UBS Group AG endorsed blockchain technology in an interview, suggesting that it is "almost a must" for business.
Sergio Ermotti told CNBC Monday that the t
A 'Crypto Shopping Mall' Is Being Tested in Slovenia
A major shopping center based in Slovenia is widening a cryptocurrency payments pilot.
BTC City Ljubljana, located in Slovenia's capital of Ljubljana, will allow a group of 150 people to use crypto
Under $100: Litecoin Price Hits Fresh 2018 Low
The price of litecoin (LTC), the world's sixth largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, fell to a fresh 2018 low on Wednesday.
Data from Bitfinex shows the cryptocurrency slipped to $97.0