VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A local tech company is making noise in more ways than one, and some neighbors don’t like it at all.
10 On Your Side first reported about Bcause back in May. It’s one of the largest bitcoin mining companies in the world, and it’s on Greenwich Road in Virginia Beach. It also needs a lot of machinery to stay running, and its neighbors say it’s too noisy.
That machinery producing the noise are huge industrial fans, 90 of them on the roof.
Decibel levels would be too high if you could hear it in the house, but neighbors say just hearing it outside is bad enough.
Virginia Beach resident Tommy Byrns, who has lived on S. Lowther Driver for 42 years, puts it this way: “The issue is the noise, the relentless noise … it’s kind of created an atmosphere where we can’t talk to each other in the backyard. You have to go in the house to talk … this was pushed through without any warning into anybody … and now look what we have.”
The noise all began when Bcause moved in next door. There are 16,000 little computers that record cryptocurrency transactions, and phase three of the company’s plans takes that to 33,000 computers.
In May, 10 On Your Side reported on founder Tom Flake’s new company, “What you see behind me is the fifth largest data mining center for cryptocurrency in the world.” Flake had to talk over the noise inside the building which was once home to Hoffman Beverage Company, a beer distributor on Greenwich Road.
The noise neighbors hear outside is generated from 90 large industrial fans that remove the heat generated from those thousands of computers inside.
“This is my new way of life when I’m outside working because I can not tolerate the noise,” Trudy Byrns says holding ear plugs up to her ears. “This is how I live outside.”
You can hear the noise echoing from behind trees next to Newstell Laney’s condo, “It just isn’t the same anymore … it’s a game changer … it’s changed the property, the property value, the property appearance, the serenity. It’s different.”
The Byrns agree. They think the sound has kind of killed their house in a way, “We are going to sell our house, who is going to buy it? To be honest I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t buy this house because of that noise,” Trudy said.
Flake is out of town, but 10 On Your Side reached him by phone, “If I lived in a quiet neighborhood, and I thought it was going to be a quiet neighborhood, and suddenly it wasn’t, I would be disturbed.”
Flake says he gets it, he understands quiet enjoyment, and he wants to be a good neighbor. “Our belief is one way to mitigate the sound is to put a sound barrier similar to what you see on the highway and that’s what we plan to do … and we plan to pay for it … we don’t know how much it will cost, but we plan to do it after our phase three implementation.” Flake could not say when that will be.
The neighbors are left for now to take Tom Flake at his word, and they expect him to deliver to be the good neighbor he says he is.