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Concerns about cryptocurrency mining prompt a panel debate in Moreland



Little Rock, Arkansas – This past weekend, hundreds of people turned out to hear a panel discussion about the growing worries about cryptocurrency mining in the state, particularly in Moreland, Arkansas, at the Oak Grove Freewill Baptist Church Community Center.

“If you go out there and you ask people if they know anything about cryptocurrency in general or more specifically about a cryptocurrency mining operation, they’ll look at you like… ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’. We find that to be very very prevalent,” Moreland First Baptist Church, Pastor, Rick Smith said.

Kim Troboy, like many other worried neighbors, became an advocate as soon as she learned about the possible problems associated with local cryptocurrency mining.

“Their concerns have been primarily about noise, property values, and foreign ownership, is the things that I’ve heard the most discussed,” Troboy said. “I am concerned about the cryptocurrency mining. I tend to call it blockchain validation… Instead of mining because mining makes people think of digging holes in the ground and that’s not what they are doing. I’m concerned about them but I also recognize them as a valid business that has a right to exist,” Troboy added.

Act 851, which limits local governments’ authority to control cryptocurrency mining, is one of the primary problems. This is something lawmakers are currently reconsidering.

“The idea that our state people are doing nothing and that they enacted this act and now we’re just going to have to live with it is not at all what the current status is. These legislators are working. They are working to correct an error and they are doing it with as much expediency as they can so a lot of resolve can come to all of these concerns and issues that we are experiencing about them,” Smith said.

Smith assisted in assembling a group that included senators, state legislators, the county judge, an Entergry representative, and others. Smith’s church is located only a few hundred feet from the two cryptocurrency mines that are being developed in Moreland.

“All of these individuals had an opportunity to make a presentation and then we had a very extensive question and answer period that enabled them to expand on that information and answer a lot of…Quite frankly poignant questions that put to rest… I hope a lot of the misinformation and dis information that just tends to follow these facilities around the country,” Smith said.

“Getting rid of misinformation and putting out a little bit more understanding of how… For example, the electricity company, Entergy, manages what’s going on with them and the legislators had said they made mistakes in letting the original act go through and they were working on it, trying to correct the problem and they were very happy to get input,” Troboy said.

Notwithstanding differing viewpoints, the organizers think the goal of everyone leaving with more information and solutions was accomplished.

“I’ve very encouraged to hear that the legislators are working on it. That they are listening to everybody and trying to incorporate it. They are being truthful with us in terms of saying they can’t accomplish everything that they would like to do immediately… That it’s going to have to take some time to work it out and that’s not easy to hear but I appreciate the honesty,” Troboy said.

Smith expressed his satisfaction with the panel discussion’s outcome and his hope that it will serve as a positive model for problem-solving in other communities.


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