“Crypto’s Volume is Turning Heads Across Markets”


Seven years ago, Gladys Anderson fulfilled her dream of owning a house in Bono, Arkansas. She wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the peacefulness of country living.

However, last May, the tranquility was shattered by the constant noise coming from the nearby bitcoin facility. For Gladys, it was like a form of military-grade torture. The sound of 17,000 computers fans running was unbearable.

Her neighbor Shane Markuson also suffered from the noise and took decibel readings, with the highest reaching 82 decibels (equivalent to a hair dryer). The residents were unable to move away, as no one would want to buy a house next to such a noisy facility.

Gladys reached out to the authorities, including the county judge’s office, the county administrator, and the governor’s office, but to no avail. She believes that the reason nothing has been done about the noise is because of the money involved.

The bitcoin facility in Bono is just one of many in Arkansas, where the “Right to Mine” bill was passed last year. This bill prevents local communities from regulating mining operations, making Arkansas an ideal location for bitcoin mining due to its low cost of land and power.

However, the bill has had unintended consequences, as some operators have not prioritized being good neighbors. Ben Smith, a local bitcoin miner, believes that about half of the bitcoin plants in Arkansas are owned by bad actors who do not invest in measures to reduce noise, such as using water instead of fans for cooling and locating the facility away from residential areas.

The cheap and noisy plants are mostly owned by Chinese companies with connections to the Chinese government. This was revealed in a report by The New York Times, which also uncovered the influence of a bitcoin advocacy group called Satoshi Action Fund in pushing the “Right to Mine” bill in several other states.

Gladys and her neighbors have now filed a suit against the Bono plant, as they continue to fundraise and speak out against the noise. The plant’s lawyers claim that the noise levels are within local limits, but they have promised to enclose the site within a few months.

Despite the challenges, Gladys remains determined to fight against the noisy bitcoin plant, which she believes is setting up everywhere. The story was produced by Amol Mhatre and edited by Mike Levine for CBS Sunday Morning.

David Pogue, a six-time Emmy winner for his stories on CBS Sunday Morning, is the reporter of this story. He is also a bestselling science author, a TED speaker, and the host of NOVA specials on PBS. He has been writing a tech column for the New York Times for thirteen years and a monthly column for Scientific American for ten years.

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