It’s no secret that mining cryptocurrency—a largely automated process that uses powerful computers to find a specific hash value that verifies the next block of transactions—uses up a lot of electricity Like, a lot a lot. Now cryptocurrency miners are gobbling up the cheapest electricity they can find, which is concerning to municipalities worried about electricity rates rising for everybody due to the activity of a few nerds.

The city of Plattsburgh in New York State recently opted to temporarily ban new Bitcoin mines while it conducts research on energy usage, and in Washington State power authorities are following electricity spikes only to find apartments full of humming servers mining digital money. The latter report led to some jokers on social media gabbing about how, if growing marijuana were completely legal, police might raid a house expecting to find an unregistered Bitcoin mine and instead find a bunch of totally fine pot.

Indeed, electricity consumption records are an investigative tool for police trying to bust grow ops and utilities often voluntarily give information to the police. Last year, a Canadian court ruled that police must get a warrant before obtaining hydro records, but did not exclude the evidence collected using that information even though it was obtained without a warrant.

According to that 2014 NPCC report, indoor cannabis production can consume 4,000 to 6,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy per kilogram of product, or just over two pounds. In January of 2018 the CBC, reporting on Canada’s booming pot business, reported that it takes about 2,000 kWh to produce one pound of product, which is about the same as NPCC’s estimate.

You Can Use a Weed Grow Tent to Cool Your Bitcoin Mining Rig Going by these estimates, let’s do some quick math that shows how costly it is, electricity-wise, to grow bud. In New York area, electricity cost 19.8 cents per kWh in February. Read more from…

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