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The Digital Human

By BBC Radio 4

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The Digital World is full of unintended consequences. Aleks finds out what happened when an influx of bitcoin miners descended like electricity devouring locusts on the snowy little town of Plattsburgh NY. Depending what day it is maintaining the bitcoin network can take the same amount of energy as consumed by the whole country of Switzerland. These crypto currencies quite literally turn electricity into money but electricity costs, so all over the globe there are itinerant bitcoin miners like the prospectors of old in search deep veins of cheap power to refine into digital gold And so when it became known that the little town of Plattsburgh on the US/Canadian border had just about the cheapest electricity on the continent the miners flocked there from as far away Puerto Rico. At its height you couldn’t walk down the street without feeling the heat and the din of servers churning away in hastily converted strip malls. But it was it a bonanza for the locals? Aleks finds out.
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The Digital Human