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Crypto company wins judgment in lawsuit against Arkansas County

The Crypto Mine in Dewitt in January. The barriers around the mine sustained mild storm damage.
Josie Lenora
Little Rock Public Radio
A fence around a cryptocurrency mine in DeWitt after suffering mild damage following a storm in January.

A settlement has been reached in a case between Arkansas County and Jones Digital, LLC, a company which owns a cryptocurrency mine in DeWitt.

On Wednesday, the county agreed to a consent decree allowing the mine to resume operations and ordering the county to pay $90,000. This comes as two new laws regulating cryptocurrency mining in Arkansas passed in the state legislature.

Nearby residents allege the mine is loud and has unclear ties to foreign governments. Last October, the Arkansas County Quorum Court attempted to pass an ordinance banning noise above 55 decibels during the day and 45 decibels at night. Jones Digital then sued the county, represented by Little Rock-based law firm Wright Lindsey Jennings.

Measurements conducted by Little Rock Public Radio found noise of highway traffic near the cryptocurrency mine as being louder than what the ordinance would allow. Only one house sits near the mine in DeWitt.

The consent decree says the county cannot enact any “discriminatory rules” or “industry specific tax regulations” against the mines. The court has the right to ensure the consent decree is being enforced, and the county is obligated to pay $90,000 to Jones Digital for “compensation.”

A second mine in the Bono neighborhood, near Greenbrier in Faulkner County, is directly adjacent to a small farming community. Residents there are suing the mine's owners, NewRays One, LLC, saying the noise is causing them emotional distress. NewRays One is also being represented by Wright Lindsey Jennings.

Although not part of the lawsuit, Faulkner County has an ordinance capping noise at 60 decibels. Little Rock Public Radio measured noise as loud as 70 decibels when standing slightly off the mining property, which would violate the county's noise ordinance

Gladys Anderson, who lives a few hundred feet from the mines, says the noise from her property fluctuates; however, she has measured noise as loud as 90 decibels, roughly the volume of a hair dryer.

In recent filings, attorneys for NewRays One claim Anderson's story is inconsistent. The firm filed a motion saying that, in one complaint, she said the noise “continues to be 60-70 dB,” while in a different document not admitted into evidence, she said she “personally measured sound levels of 53 decibels.”

What Anderson actually said is that she once measured the sound from her property as being anywhere from 53 to 70 decibels, which is the volume of normal conversation.

Anderson's lawyers responded saying these two statements affirm each other.

Meanwhile, two laws were recently signed by Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders giving counties more control over cryptocurrency mine regulations. The laws came in response to a 2023 law preventing local governments from enacting any sort of restriction on cryptocurrency mining operations.

Disclosure: Wright Lindsey Jennings is a financial supporter of Little Rock Public Radio.

Josie Lenora is the Politics/Government Reporter for Little Rock Public Radio.