Cryptocurrency angers New York winemakers – POLITICO

With the help of Sam Sabin and Derek Robertson

The markets are not the only thing that is ruining the cryptocurrency right now.

New York legislators are getting more and more worried about cryptocurrency mining. The energy-intensive industry is building its massive computer arrays in the upstate countryside, at least two of which have reopened old power plants to generate electricity.

This horrifies environmentalists, who pushed a new law through the State Assembly to prevent miners from restarting old fossil fuel plants. The state Senate has until June 2 to vote for a moratorium before the end of the legislative session.

Of course, upstate New York needs jobs. Why not mine cryptocurrency?

I went to upstate New York (Dresden, to be exact) for a detailed report on what the industry looks like, and what kind of enemies it makes – especially winemakers who are concerned about the pollution of their pastoral landscapes. Some excerpts from the story:

Behind a mesh fence topped with barbed wire, excavators are parked next to the bodies of two green buildings under construction. Three chimneys overhead serve as a reminder of how the Greenage Power Station burned 740,000 tons of coal annually here in New York’s Finger Lakes, providing power to more than 200,000 homes.

Today, the facility uses most of the energy it generates, currently from natural gas, to run a cryptocurrency mining site. Greenidge plans to move many of its mining machines, which are now scattered, to new buildings.

The plant employs 17,000 individual “miners” that are installed in 16 different “environments”, including an old brick warehouse on site.

A coal-fired power plant that became a gas-fired power plant that has become a symbol of the battle for the future of digital currencies, in particular bitcoin, in New York.

Industry supporters say the plants are helping rebuild upstate New York’s struggling economy. But as more cryptocurrency mining operations pop up in the state, taking advantage of old industrial space and cheap access to energy, environmentalists and some government officials are worried about the implications. They worry about their aggressive carbon reduction targets (the state wants to be net zero by 2050) and the impact on the quality of life in some communities.

New York miners have an interesting enemy: vintners, another industry trying to revitalize the upstate economy.

The Greenidge distillery is located on the shores of Seneca Lake, visible from the vineyards on the opposite side, where three chimneys elicit an instinctive reaction of disgust and dislike from winemakers wary of an existential threat to the pastoral image that draws hundreds of thousands of tourists to the pristine Finger Lakes every summer.

“I get their shit in the air and I don’t need it,” said sixth-generation farmer Phil Davis, co-founder of Damiani Wine Cellars on the shores of Lake Seneca.

“It’s just stupid,” said Rich Rainey, managing partner at nearby Forge Cellars.

Climbing up the stairs, he slams the large wine barrel next to him to make it more expressive. “These are real things. They were bought on the street and made by real people… We are building a real economy that benefits a lot of people, not, frankly, a fake economy.”

How many jobs does cryptocurrency create?

Inside the plant, the company has revived an operation once watched by more than three dozen people as it burned coal, and then, after being laid off, by just two people to supervise the dormant operation. This was before the installation of the new gas turbine.

Dale Irwin, president of Greenidge Generation Holdings, was one of the two men. He now oversees operations at the plant, which currently employs about 50 workers who operate the gas turbine, maintain and support the mining machines. Work at the plant is highly paid—$80,000 a year on average—and focused on technical tasks. skills that are not always in demand in the region.

What the legislature is ready to do:

Industry representatives are rejecting New York’s proposed two-year moratorium on mining permits for cryptocurrencies at fossil fuel plants. The bill, passed by the Assembly and awaiting approval in the State Senate, which passed a broader ban last year, will not affect the Greenage site.

Read the full story here.

While cryptocurrency finds its way into pension funds as he strives for mainstream recognition, his dark side grows as well. Hackers who run ransomware on computer networks – often making demands on cryptography – earn more than anyone could have imagined.

“We are facing pandemic technology at the brink,” the post reads. new report from blockchain analytics company Elementuswhich states that ransomware gangs have made over $1 billion in 2021, much more than previous estimates.

Ransomware — hacker attacks that freeze computer systems until payments are made, usually in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies — is on the rise. In 2019, companies made 35 payments worth more than $1 million each to ransomware gangs. In 2021, that number has risen to 183.

Max Galka, CEO of Elementus, said the majority of ransomware attacks are currently being carried out by several large groups based in Russia and other former Soviet republics, which Elementus warns are “becoming more nimble, dangerous and challenging every year.” “. Only four types of ransomware — Conti, Darkside, Phoenix Locker, and Sodinokibi — generated more than $500 million in ransomware payments last year.

These figures are much higher than previously reported. Galka said the new count is the first “correct bottom-up count of the actual sum of all payments sent by ransomware.”

An Elementus spokesperson said the company shared its preliminary findings for this report with the National Security Council during a Nov. 11 meeting. 16. The federal government has also struggled to measure the extent of the ransomware problem, as victims often fail to report payment of the ransom. (A new law that requires companies to report ransom payments could change that.)

Elementus, which bills itself as “the first all-in-one blockchain search engine,” arrived at its numbers by tracking bitcoin payments on the blockchain, which, after all, are not really anonymous. The firm scoured underground hacker forums and worked with clients to identify cryptocurrency wallet addresses associated with ransomware gangs and, so to speak, track down digital navigation crumbs. Since ransomware hackers rely heavily on cryptography to collect ransoms, obtaining a single address is almost all Elementus (and other firms doing similar blockchain forensics) need to track other transactions made with various wallet addresses associated with specific gang of extortionists. .

According to Elementus, almost half of the ransomware bitcoin revenue has been converted to regular currencies on commercial exchanges such as Binance, FTX or Coinbase.

The good news, according to the firm, is that since a small number of people are behind the bulk of ransomware attacks, using crypto-forensics tools (like the ones they sell) can help stem the rampant growth of ransomware. – Sam Sabin

Since the technology is still so speculative, when people talk about the metaverse, they often end up discussing the various iconic sci-fi novels about it – Snow Crash, Ready Player One, Neuromancer.

But what about books that will actually in metaverse?

The book website Bookglow asked this question in a recent Blog Post, tracing the history of virtual libraries from the first Kindle to today’s popular bookstagrams. Theoretically, you could store your dream library in the metaverse – whether it’s a cozy Ikea-style color-coded showroom or Alexandria’s ersatz library filled with old Tintin and Carl Barks comics. (Not that I paid much attention to it.)

The digitization of the world’s libraries was one of the Internet’s earliest utopian dreams, but it was fraught with copyright issues (especially after Google secretly vacuumed the libraries of the world.)

Bringing this digital library into the metaverse is theoretically attractive, but it faces another major challenge. Just like – admit it – many of our home libraries in real life, these virtual libraries can be mostly for show. It’s because headaches andseasickness still serious problems in VR. The prospect of using a headset for more than an hour is still pretty far-fetched, making deep reading unlikely at best.

So don’t swap out your Kindle for an Oculus headset just yet. And if you’re still in need of a metaverse fix, it’s not too hard to turn on your imagination and get your hands on any of the above novels – or, I’d personally recommend, the more recent Gibson.Peripheral“This is a very underrated story about a potential future, albeit an extremely dark one. – Derek Robertson

Stay in touch with the entire team: Ben Schrekinger ([email protected]); Derek Robertson[email protected]); Konstantin Kakaes (ur.[email protected]); and Heidi Vogt ([email protected]).

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