The region is watching uneasily as one of its biggest natural resources—a gigantic surplus of hydroelectric power—is inhaled by a sector that barely existed five years ago and which is routinely derided as the next dot-com bust. post
For all that potential, however, the basin’s nascent mining community was beset by the sort of troubles that you would have found in any other boomtown. Mining technology was still so new that the early operations were constantly crashing.
There was a growing, often bitter competition for mining sites that had adequate power, and whose landlords didn’t flip out when the walls got “Swiss-cheesed” with ventilation holes.
There was the constant fear of electrical overloads, as coin-crazed miners pushed power systems to the limit—as, for example, when one miner nearly torched an old laundromat in downtown Wenatchee.
In the zero-sum game that cryptocurrency has become, one man’s free money is another man’s headache. In the Mid-Columbia Basin, the latter category includes John Stoll, who oversees Chelan County Public Utility District’s maintenance crews.