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Kazakh ministry halts illegal crypto mining operations

The Kazakh Ministry of Energy announced that it has discovered and terminated 13 cryptocurrency mining operations. The government executed the shutdown as part of its efforts to regulate the Bitcoin (BTC) mining sector, which has grown increasingly popular in recent years.

As per the official statement, the miners were using a lot of energy, with a total power consumption of 202 megawatts. According to the Kazakhstan government, efforts to identify and disconnect mining farms from the electrical networks will continue. Following the discovery of illicit mining operations, authorized bodies will take operational and investigatory actions.

As the planet’s second-largest Bitcoin producer after China’s crypto crackdown, power consumption in Kazakhstan has skyrocketed. As reported by Cointelegraph, Kazakhstan was home to over 18% of the world’s Bitcoin hash rate as of August 2021, trailing only the United States. In April, before China’s mining crackdowns, the figure was just 8%.

In June 2021, the president of Kazakhstan approved the creation of a tax category for Bitcoin mining, which was perhaps motivated by China’s anti-Bitcoin attitude. In 2021, due to Chinese authorities’ hostility, Chinese BTC mining businesses like Canaan and BTC.com relocated to Kazakhstan.

Although the mining industry has been largely concentrated in the country for some time, it looks set to lose its hash rate share due to various reasons, according to several sector executives as reported by Cointelegraph. This would most likely cause Kazakhstan to depart from the top three BTC mining countries in the index update, expected next month.

Related: Kazakhstan’s central bank reports results on CBDC pilot project

On Feb. 8, the Kazakh president ordered a cabinet-level investigation of cryptocurrency mining, with Kazakhstan’s First Vice Minister of Finance Marat Sultangaziyev proposing power price hikes for crypto miners. According to reports, although President Tokayev is not against mining himself, miners must obtain licenses and pay electricity bills on decent terms, as well as pay taxes.

   

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