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Upstate groups express concerns over new cryptocurrency companies moving into the area

Environmental groups say they want local governments to step up and regulate new crypto facilities--to avoid effects on environment, power grid, & energy rates.
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 2:31 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Could Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency operations moving the Upstate mean higher electric bills for South Carolinians?

It’s something local environments groups say they’re worried about, along with impacts to our natural resources and power grid.

Tuesday, Upstate activists participated in a zoom news conference to talk about what crypto mining coming here could mean for our area.

This meeting, happening as several digital currency-focused companies are planning to set up shop in South Carolina very soon.

Michael Coleman with Upstate forever says he and his colleagues aren’t opposed to economic development. But they want safeguards in place.

Coleman says he, and many other who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, are simply asking elected officials to regulate operations like Bitcoin mining.

They say the process of “mining” crypto uses an incredible amount of electricity. They also add: South Carolina’s energy costs are cheaper than many other states, so they can see why crypto outfits would be attracted to the Palmetto State.

They just don’t want a free-for-all.

“We all know that the Upstate region is home to explosive growth,” said Michael Coleman, energy advocate for Upstate Forever. “We are just wanting to make sure we are able to maintain that growth by making sure that future developments are able come here and use energy--because we have some left.”

“We’re very concerned about the Upstate region bearing the energy burden of a small country,” he added, when referring to just how much electricity some crypto facilities can use.

We reached out to Greenidge Generation, a Bitcoin mining company planning to set up shop in Spartanburg County later this year, to get a response to these concerns.

They say they are committed to offsetting 100% of the carbon emissions they create, and strive to be green in various ways.

In a statement to FOX Carolina, the Bitcoin mining company said:

“We’ve shown how a cryptocurrency operation can create good paying jobs...and create broad economic impacts...and we can deliver those benefits while at the same time adhering to important environmental protections and protecting the local energy grid.”

The facility is expected to represent a $200+ million investment into the region, and would create about 30-40 new jobs.