Bitcoin Mining Noise Angers Texans

Bitcoin mining has been a boon for Texas, but there are downsides, including noise pollution.

Will Marathon find a solution to residents' concerns?

Bitcoin mining has been a success story for Texas, helping the authorities to balance the power grid at times of peak demand and avoiding the need for dirty, expensive gas "peaker" plants. One recent study suggests that working closely with miners has enabled the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas (ERCOT) to save $18 billion on energy infrastructure, and helped expand renewables capacity in the process.

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However, there are downsides to the initiative, as some residents have found out to their cost.

Noise Pollution

Residents of Granbury, a town near Fort Worth, which is home too one of Marathon's Bitcoin mining plants, are experiencing serious disruption and even health issues from the constant noise of the ASIC fans. The Granbury facility houses 80,000 miners, creating a sound that has been compared to a wind tunnel or motorway—all day, every day.

Homeowners living a quarter-mile away or more have complained of headaches, nose bleeds, and vertigo due to the noise. They say that birds and wildlife are leaving the area, and that livestock are becoming increasingly disturbed.

Marathon has acknowledged the problem and committed to finding a solution, though note that they aren't doing anything illegal or breaking any sound ordinance laws. As the price of bitcoin rises, mining activity has also ramped up, and the noise has grown worse over the last six months.

Hashrate chart
Hashrate has soared as prices have recovered (Blockchain.com)

With the bull market in full swing, new demand from a cluster of ETFs, and network hashrate doubling in the space of just a year, this is a challenge that miners—particularly large, publicly-listed mining companies—will need to get on top of sooner rather than later.


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