A New York city becomes first in the U.S. to temporarily ban Bitcoin mining

The Plattsburgh, New York city council voted unanimously to introduce an 18-month ban on commercial Bitcoin mining operations within the city. The move comes after city residents complained of wildly inflated electricity bills caused by commercial Bitcoin mining operations taking advantage of the city’s low-cost power.

As Motherboard reports, the moratorium is aimed at new commercial Bitcoin-mining operations, so businesses already operating cryptocurrency mines in Plattsburgh will be able to continue doing business. It’s a stopgap designed to keep power bills for ordinary residents from continuing to grow.

“I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints that electric bills have gone up by $100 or $200,” Plattsburgh mayor Colin Read told Motherboard.

The moratorium is only for 18 months and it remains to be seen what will happen once it expires, but local Bitcoin-mining operations are watching these developments carefully. Some even agree that commercial operations should be charged more for using up the city’s cheap, plentiful hydroelectric power.

“I think it’s better to charge the miners more so that people in the city aren’t negatively impacted, than an outright ban. But still reasonably so, or companies won’t want to set up shop here,” said Dan Bowman, a bitcoin entrepreneur, told Motherboard. “I think middle ground should be sought so peoples electric rates don’t go up.”

The main thing that has drawn so many Bitcoin-mining operations to Plattsburgh has been the city’s proximity to a hydroelectric power plant. It’s the reason the city has some of the lowest power costs in the U.S. But those low prices only go so far. The city has an allotment of 104 megawatt-hours of electricity per month, and if it consumes more than that, the city has to buy power on the open market, at much higher rates. That is why notoriously power-hungry Bitcoin operations have inadvertently caused ordinary citizens’ power bills to skyrocket.

The largest mining operation in the city, Coinmint, reportedly used nearly 10 percent of the city’s power budget in January and February. To compensate without scaring off Bitcoin operations, Read suggested a number of potential solutions, including charging local commercial Bitcoin operations for any overages the cause the city to incur. Regardless of how the city ends up deciding to handle the problem of commercial Bitcoin operations sucking up power, looks like it has 18 months to do it.

Emerging Tech

Singapore uses its smart city tech to help citizens cut through the red tape

Like many governments, Singapore’s puts citizens through plenty of red tape. But as part of its smart-city initiatives, the government is using tech to remove layers of bureaucracy.
Computing

Breaking: Amazon won’t build headquarters in New York in face of opposition

Amazon has canceled plans for a New York City headquarters afer citizens, civic groups, and politicians pushed back on Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's exclamation of economic joy over Amazon's earlier…
Mobile

AT&T adds Minneapolis and Chicago to its mobile 5G road map for 2019

Ready to experience a radical transformation in mobile communication? AT&T is launching mobile 5G in cities across the country over the next few months. Here's everything you need to know about the AT&T 5G rollout.
Outdoors

Uber’s bikesharing service is eating into its regular business

A bikesharing service acquired by Uber nearly a year ago is causing riders to take fewer car journeys with the company. It is, however, part of the plan as Uber looks to offer an integrated mobility platform for cities.
Deals

Take $250 off the HP Spectre x360 laptop with this Presidents’ Day sale

If you're hoping for something more powerful that will last more than a few months, you'll probably need to invest $1,000 or more. Unless, of course, you take advantage of the Presidents' Sale on the HP Spectre x360 13t.
Computing

Think crypto’s dead? JPMorgan to offer first cryptocurrency backed by a U.S. bank

J.P. Morgan Chase is making history by rolling out a trial, over the next few months, of the first cryptocurrency, dubbed JPM Coin, which is backed by a large United States bank.
Computing

Opera web browser targets enhanced accessibility with major redesign

The browser wars are heating up. In the latest move for Opera, a new development release pushes it even closer to Chrome with a redesign and overall goal of redefining the modern web browser. 
Computing

DLSS is finally arriving in games, but how does Nvidia's super-sampling actually work?

Nvidia's new DLSS technology is exciting, but what is it and how does it work? It's not quite anti-aliasing and it's not quite super sampling. It's a little bit of both and the end results can be impressive.
Computing

A new Mac Pro is supposedly coming in 2019, but what will it be like?

Our Mac Pro 2019 rumor roundup covers all the top news, leaks, and rumors about the new Mac Pro set to be announced sometime in 2019. Here's what Apple has said, what the experts think, and what's likely to show up with the new Mac Pro.
Gaming

Take to the virtual skies with these free flight simulators

You don't have to spend the entirety of your paycheck to become a virtual ace, at least when it comes to flight simulation. Our list of the best free flight simulators will let you unleash your inner Maverick.
Gaming

Wage war on a budget with these fun and free first-person shooters

We all know about Halo and Call of Duty by now, but what about quality titles that won't cost you upward of $60? Check out our picks for the best free first-person shooter games from Paladins to Quake Champions.
Computing

Enjoy Windows on a Chromebook with these great tips and tricks

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only software.
Computing

Switch your WMA files for MP3s with our quick conversion tips

The WMA codec may be great when it comes to multi-channel surround sound, but unfortunately, it falters in terms of compatibility. Check out our guide on how to convert WMA files to MP3 via web-based or desktop methods.
Computing

Looking for a new laptop? These 5 notebooks are on sale through Presidents’ Day

If you're ready to ditch your aging notebook, you can score some fantastic Presidents' Day savings right now on Microsoft's Surface Pro 6, Dell's XPS 13, HP's Spectre x360, Lenovo's Yoga C930, and Dell's G5 15 Gaming laptops.