Chehalis City Council votes to implement moratorium on cryptocurrency mining

By the news staff

On Monday evening, Chehalis City Council heard a presentation on cryptocurrency given by Justin Podhola, a cryptocurrency mining entrepreneur who launched his company, Elite Mining Inc., in Chehalis.

The council then voted unanimously to adopt a moratorium on cryptocurrency mining in Chehalis.

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Podhola has been involved in cryptocurrency mining for eight years after investing all of his savings, he said. After introducing him, Podhola answered questions about different aspects of the cryptocurrency business.

Podhola explained how there are good actors and bad actors in cryptocurrency, listing those willing to engage in illicit transactions as the kind of people he would consider to be bad actors.

“Like anything else, you have to have regulation,” Podhola said.

Podhola told city councilors that cryptocurrency miners make money by selling the cryptocurrency they mine. The Podhola-based firm mines Bitcoin in exchange for US dollars. According to Podhola, Bitcoin, which was the first cryptocurrency created, is the best cryptocurrency because it has grown organically. The amount of money a miner earns is determined by his contribution to mining a cryptocurrency.

“The more I contribute to the Bitcoin network, the more money I make,” Podhola said.

The Podhola-based firm contributes to the Bitcoin network through its own computers that work with other cryptocurrency miners to solve complex mathematical equations. The more your computers contribute to solving the equations, the more cryptocurrency the miner receives. The cryptocurrency mining process can be profitable, but there are major problems, mainly a high consumption of water and electricity.

Podhola said he had encountered these problems before. He told the board that he bought a building near the current Washington State Employee Credit Union (WSECU) and PUD near Yard Birds, but was unable to secure enough power to meet his business needs. Podhola said he moved his business to Wyoming, although he still maintains operations in Chehalis at his location near WSECU, as well as a more recent expanded operation at Yard Birds.

The goal of the recently adopted moratorium is to find a way to allow cryptocurrency mining companies to operate without having to worry about power outages.

When asked about power consumption, adviser Isaac Pope used Microsoft as an example of another company using a lot of energy to run computers and asked why cryptocurrency companies would be selected.

In response to Pope’s question, Podhola explained the importance for the government of working with cryptocurrency miners, especially given the consistency of uses of cryptocurrency power mining. Podhola used Texas as an example to explain to consultants how to set electricity prices to discourage cryptocurrency mining at certain times to avoid blackouts.

Councilor Bob Spahr asked Podhola about the possibility of a zoning that discourages cryptocurrency mining. Podhola responded by saying that proper zoning that takes into account the use of water and electricity would not dissuade companies like him from engaging in cryptocurrency mining.

After newly appointed councilor Kevin Carns inquired about the nature of Podhola’s jobs, Podhola said he employed a handful of workers at Chehalis who are paid around $ 20- $ 30 an hour, adding that he plans to expand its operations in Chehalis if permitted.

Later in the meeting, after the board had finished listening to public comments, Spahr decided to vote on a moratorium on cryptocurrency mining and was seconded by Councilor Jerry Lord. The council then voted unanimously to adopt the moratorium.

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