Fairborn puts 6-month ban on crypto-mining data centers involved with Bitcoin

FAIRBORN — The city has put a six-month ban on data centers that are used for crypto mining, associated with Bitcoin.

The move comes after Fairborn officials were approached about having data centers in downtown, city records show.

The facilities “can use significant amounts of electricity and water, can produce significant amounts of noise” while employing “relatively few people for the amount of space they require,” city documents state.

No regulation or oversight of such data centers exists in Ohio, according to Fairborn records. The 180-day moratorium comes as New York state seeks to ban new bitcoin mining operations, a move that some industry insiders fear could have a domino effect across the U.S., CNBC reported.

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Fairborn needs to better research the centers, Fairborn Assistant City Manager Mike Gebhart said.

“So, before any of those locate within the city, we’d like to bring ourselves up to speed a little bit better on what those are,” Gebhart said.

“Because quite frankly, they’re not environmentally friendly from the initial information we have, nor are they a significant job creator,” he added. “So, these buildings essentially sit unmanned while they do this and only occasionally see a person come in or out.”

Fairborn’s “goal is not to ban” the data centers, City Manager Rob Anderson said. Instead, officials want to make sure the city’s codes properly address the facilities, he added.

Fairborn’s city council voted 7-0 last week to enact the moratorium.

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“I think it’s smart just to give ourselves some room just so we can think through what this means for the city,” Councilman Clint Allen said. “It’s a new thing … So how do we work through this?”

Bitcoin is a virtual currency designed to act as money and a form of payment outside the control of any one person, group, or entity, removing the need for third-party involvement in financial transactions.

Bitcoin mining is a process where a global network of computers running the Bitcoin code work to ensure that transactions are legitimate and added correctly to the cryptocurrency’s blockchain, according to forbes.com. Mining is also how new Bitcoin is entered into circulation, the Forbes site states.

The Fairborn moratorium will block the granting of permits and approvals for data centers, according to the city. It will give the city time to “study, draft and if desired” enact “reasonable regulations” required for their approval, Fairborn records show.

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