ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Foundry is growing the digital currency industry in Rochester.

Foundry CEO Mike Colyer discussed the company’s growth and potential challenges Monday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“Foundry is a Western New York-based company focused on the digital currency market,” explained Colyer. “We empower decentralized infrastructure. So we support companies like Bitcoin miners through the marketplace as well as through equipment advances and software to help the whole marketplace work.”

Colyer understands that the digital marketplace is a bit of an unknown for many people but he believes in its future. “I got interested in it about five years ago. I viewed it similar to the start of the internet. Decentralized infrastructure is going to change a lot of business models. It’s going to empower a lot of people financially. And it’s kind of the future of technology and we’re doing it right here in Western New York.”

Foundry recently added its 100th employee. Embraced locally for its success, there are challenges to the digital currency statewide – specifically as it relates to something called mining. “Mining is essentially the ability for anybody because it’s a decentralized network, to plug in a machine and you’re essentially securing the network and helping process the transactions across the Bitcoin network,” Colyer said. “These machines require electricity just like pretty much everything else in our life requires electricity. There’s been a small group of environmentalists who have decided to target Bitcoin mining and they have been putting a lot of pressure on legislators to ban it in New York State. I think this is a very dangerous path to go down – picking which industries can or can’t use electricity. It’s really focused on a power plant on Seneca Lake.”

When it comes to the amount of energy Bitcoin mining requires, Colyer said, “The reality is it uses less electricity than Christmas lights use in the United States or the amount of energy financial companies use to run their businesses. It’s just easy to measure and it’s easy to target.”

Colyer noted on the global stage that only North Korea, China, and Iran have banned mining for cryptocurrency.

As the debate continues at the legislative level, Colyer remains focused on the future of Foundry and continued growth. “This is a very fast-moving industry,” he said. “It’s growing at speeds that are hard to even imagine. For me, my goal is to put Western New York on the map as a center of excellence for blockchain technology. We’ve got people relocating to Rochester to work for Foundry. We are hiring from the local universities. Kids are excited that they don’t have to move to the West Coast to work on the latest and greatest tech. They can stay right here in Rochester and yet make West Coast salaries. It’s super-exciting to be doing it here locally in my hometown.”

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