April 1, 2022
Photo: Brian Kahn/Protocol
Good morning! Regulating bitcoin mining is a bit like whack-a-mole. But it appears New York regulators are taking their sweet time picking up the padded hammer: For a second time, they’ve punted on air pollution permits for an upstate mine tied to a gas power plant. I’m Brian Kahn, and I’ve recently come to the realization that soft scrambled eggs are the perfect WFH lunch food.
There’s a bitcoin mine dressed in power plant clothing in upstate New York, and regulators just don’t seem to know whether to treat it like a sheep or a wolf. The Greenidge power plant has operated in regulatory limbo since late January, when the state Department of Environmental Conservation was supposed to rule on an air pollution permit. It kicked the can until March and now it’s kicking it to June. But this is no game.
The power plant has been the epicenter of a pitched battle. Greenidge is a former coal plant that was shuttered last decade, only to be revived as a natural gas peaker plant. (That is, a power plant that only provides power when needed.) But that proved financially less than lucrative, leading its owners to find a side hustle mining bitcoin, which has since turned into its main hustle. Rise and grind, I guess?
The air pollution permit renewal brought the fight to a fever pitch. In various filings, Greenidge laid out its plans for expansion, greenhouse gas emissions and other factors that made this a make-or-break moment to decide if the mine could continue. Instead, the DEC punted on its decision until June 30.
Cryptocurrency is all about some ideal decentralized world where we realize our true, free and beautiful selves. Like we’re at Coachella, sipping on a frosé, watching Phoebe Bridgers and, wait where were we? Oh right. Crypto. Sigh.
Look, I get it. That all sounds nice. But the reality is, crypto is not that. It’s a world of grifts, scams and greed. And mining has real-world consequences like ruining the planet. Despite those risks, regulators have been sluggish to do anything, particularly when it comes to mining. And miners have been able to stay one or even two steps ahead of the game. The longer we fail to rein in wasteful mining practices using fossil fuels, though, the harder it will be to keep the climate habitable. In a future where vertically integrated mines like Greenidge pop up all over, we’re going to need a lot more frosé.
Today’s job landscape is challenging for organizations looking to recruit and retain top tech talent. Recent labor trends, many of which are fueling The Great Resignation, have shown leaders across industries that their employees are searching for more.
Battling China is more important than battling Big Tech, Eric Schmidt said:
Four senators want the FTC to look into Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard purchase:
Meanwhile, Jonathan Kanter said officials should get stricter on deal reviews:
Microsoft is buying Minit, a process-mining startup, for an undisclosed amount.
HighPost purchased Centr, an online fitness platform created by Chris Hemsworth. The firm, co-founded by Mark Bezos, also bought Inspire Fitness; it will be folded into Centr.
E3 is canceled. The in-person component was previously called off, but now there’s no digital event, either.
Aaron Goldman, Daniel Holmgren and Paul Frazee will join Bluesky as a security engineer and protocol engineers, respectively. The trio mark Bluesky’s first hires.
Gunjan Aggarwal is the new chief people officer at Confluent. Aggarwal last worked in the same rolle at RingCentral.
Ben Jenkins is the new president and chief investment officer of DigitalBridge. Jenkins was previously the company’s chief investment officer.
Facebook’s downranking system hasn’t been working properly, The Verge reported. Rather than suppressing problematic content, the News Feed has been mistakenly promoting it over the past six months.
Joe Biden wants to get more materials for EV production. His administration is using the Defense Production Act to increase the output of materials used in batteries and EVs.
Samsung will allow users to repair their own phones. It's launching a new program this summer for repair pros and amateur fixers, though not for all its devices. Still, it's another big win for the right-to-repair movement.
Two Amazon union fights are down to the wire. It looks like unionization efforts will lose in Bessemer, but have a solid lead in Staten Island.
Fast is falling apart. A string of stories and leaks show the once-hot checkout company in total crisis, looking for a buyer and potentially preparing to lay off a large portion of its staff.
China is eyeing new rules for livestreamers, sources told The Wall Street Journal. Authorities want to limit the amount of money livestreamers can take from fans on any given day.
Apple introduced a new subscription service for businesses, called Business Essentials, which will help managers set up and run software on Apple products.
The chip shortage is hitting Ford again. The company stopped production at its Michigan plant, where the Mustang is built.
Instagram Reels is struggling to attract the right creators. Some of the most viewed Reels have been posted by anonymous accounts, and over 80% came from aggregator accounts.
Meta’s hosting a new event called “Conversations,” which is focused on its messaging product, on May 19.
Today is a hard one for the gullible. You could be the target of a friend or family member’s best April Fool’s joke yet, or worse: You could fall for a tech company’s prank. You don’t have to fall for the joke, though, to appreciate its humor. Here are a few of our favorites from years past:
Technology organizations need to look internally to find the talent they seek by upskilling and reskilling their existing tech workforce. For this vision to become a reality, organizations must focus on being creators, rather than consumers, of talent.
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