A futuristic company may set up shop at a closed site for a traditional smokestack industry. It’s the dream of economic developers everywhere and it may happen right at the shuttered Alcoa East smelter in Massena.
“It would be good for Massena. I think they are highly technical jobs. We’re definitely going to look forward to something like that,” said Steven O’Shaughnessy, Massena town supervisor.
The company, a subsidiary of cryptocurrency miner Coinmint. plans to invest $165 million and employ 150 people. Workers would oversee computer servers doing lighting fast calculations 24-7 to mine for Bitcoin. One big attraction is low-cost power.
“That’s been one of our main marketing points is that we have cheap reliable power,” said O’Shaughnessy.
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. Unlike paper money, there’s not a government backing Bitcoin, although bitcoin is traded on the financial markets. Today 1 Bitcoin is worth $10,000 U.S. dollars.
You mine for Bitcoin online using special computer software to solve math problems.
The new company wants to locate thousands of computers in the Massena location and mine Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for the world.
The project became public this week when the New York Power Authority considered Coinmint’s request for 15 megawatts of low-cost power. It tabled the request for more study, but everyone is hopeful.
“This is a large allocation of power, but certainly 150 jobs is nothing to sneeze at,” said Assemblywoman Addie Jenne (D. – 116th District).
Coinmint tells the power authority it has a long-term lease for Alcoa East. It plans to start retrofitting a building there before the end of winter.
It wants to occupy six large buildings there by June 2019 and be in full operation.