New York Democratic gubernatorial candidate wants to ban some cryptocurrency mining

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Jumaane Williams with winery owner Tim Hosmer at an event held in protest of the Bitcoin mining operation at Greenidge Generation power plant in Yates County. (Megan Zerez/WSKG News)

BURDETT, NY (WSKG) — New York City public advocate and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jumaane Williams said if elected, he would halt most cryptocurrency mining in the state. Williams made the announcement at a winery in the Finger Lakes, where the Greenidge Generation power plant operates a Bitcoin mining operation.

Williams said he’s not against cryptocurrency mining altogether, but wants companies to reevaluate their mining process so it doesn’t use as much electricity. 

“We have to have the will to force these companies, if that’s what they’re going to do, they have to do it in a more climate friendly way,” Williams said.

Williams wants to ban a type of cryptocurrency mining called “proof-of-work.” In proof-of-work mining, a computer performs complex calculations and the work of performing those calculations is what generates the value behind Bitcoin.

But advocates said running those advanced computers 24/7 takes a lot of electricity

A spokesperson for Greenidge Generation power plant, which has been mining Bitcoin in the Finger Lakes, said banning proof-of-work mining means effectively banning Bitcoin mining altogether. 

That is unless Bitcoin can convert to another method of proving its value. Other crypto currencies have already started moving away from proof-of-work mining. For a big established currency like Bitcoin, the process could take years.