By the staff of The Chronicle
On Monday night, the Chehalis City Council heard a cryptocurrency presentation given by Justin Podhola, a cryptocurrency mining entrepreneur who launched his company, Elite Mining Inc., in Chehalis.
The council then unanimously voted for a moratorium on cryptocurrency mining in Chehalis.
Podhola has been involved in cryptocurrency mining for eight years after investing all of his savings, he said. After his presentation, Podhola answered questions about various aspects of the cryptocurrency business.
Podhola explained how there are good and bad actors in cryptocurrency, listing those willing to engage in illegal transactions as the kind of people he would consider bad actors.
“Like anything else, you have to have regulation,” Podhola said.
Podhola told city council members that cryptocurrency miners make money by selling the cryptocurrency they mine. The Podhola company mines Bitcoin in exchange for US dollars. According to Podhola, Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency to be created, is the best cryptocurrency because it grew organically. The amount of money a miner earns is determined by their contribution to mining a cryptocurrency.
“The more I contribute to the Bitcoin network, the more money I make,” Podhola said.
Podhola’s company contributes to the Bitcoin network through computers owned by the company that collaborate with other cryptocurrency miners to solve complex mathematical equations. The more your computers contribute to solving the equations, the greater the share of cryptocurrency the miner receives. The cryptocurrency mining process can be lucrative, but there are major problems, mainly high water and electricity consumption.
Podhola said he had encountered these problems before. He told the board that he had purchased a building adjacent to the current Washington State Employee Credit Union (WSECU) and PUD near Yard Birds, but was unable to get enough energy to power his company’s needs. to fulfil. Podhola said he’s moved his business to Wyoming, though he still operates Chehalis at its location near WSECU, as well as a more recent extensive operation at Yard Birds.
The goal of the recently passed moratorium is to find a way to run cryptocurrency mining companies without worrying about power outages.
When asked about energy consumption, advisor Isaac Pope used Microsoft as an example of another company that uses a lot of energy to run computers and asked why cryptocurrency companies would be singled out.
In response to Pope’s question, Podhola explained how important it is for the government to partner with cryptocurrency miners, especially given the consistency of its use of cryptocurrency power mining. Podhola used Texas as an example to explain to advisers how to set electricity prices to discourage cryptocurrency mining at certain times to avoid blackouts.
Advisor Bob Spahr asked Podhola about the possibility of discouraging cryptocurrency mining. Podhola responded by saying that proper zoning, taking into account the use of water and electricity, would not stop companies like him from engaging in cryptocurrency mining.
After newly appointed councilor Kevin Carns asked about the nature of Podhola’s employment activities, Podhola said he employed a handful of workers at Chehalis who are paid around $20-$30 an hour, adding that he plans to expand operations to Chehalis, if allowed.
Later in the meeting, after the council finished hearing public comments, Spahr decided to vote on the cryptocurrency mining moratorium and was seconded by councilor Jerry Lord. The council then unanimously approved the moratorium.