Morristown Mayor Gary Chesney says the decision was made only after some due diligence and controls were set in place with the crypto mining company, Wattum.
Wattum is a U.S.-based crypto mining equipment and “complete mining solutions provider,” according to the company’s LinkedIn, and doesn’t actually dig into the earth; in fact, cryptocurrency mining is the process of creating new digital currencies on specialized computers that verify blockchain transactions; a blockchain is like a ledger of cryptocurrency transactions to keep them secure.
Morristown city councilmembers at the July 19 work session approved the sale of two properties to Wattum that will be crypto mining sites: Five acres at the East Tennessee Progress Center along Power Drive and at the East Tennessee Valley Industrial District along Hamblen Avenue. The purchase price is $20,000 per acre.
A June 29 letter from the Industrial Development Board of the City of Morristown states “Wattum will represent an approximately $35 million investment and create 3-5 new jobs” with the project.
Both locations in Morristown are within industrial parks and aren’t located near residential neighborhoods, according to Mayor Chesney, so noise levels aren’t expected to be an issue.
“[Wattum] agreed to keep decibel levels under 70 which is well below OSHA standards,” Mayor Chesney shared to his social media page. “Levels above 70 will invoke an obligation to install concrete noise mitigation panels. Neither site, deep inside industrial parks among other industries, is near residential occupancies.”
In the same post, Mayor Chesney described the route leaders took to address or avoid potential concerns before making the sale to Wattum. Most of those concerns centered around noise and energy levels. The process is energy-consuming and large fans used to cool the massive computer servers can be noisy.