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Kazakhstan energy officials shut down 13 illegal data farms In crypto crackdown

Kazakh government has blamed crypto-miners, who they say have placed an excessive load on energy infrastructure, for an increasing number of rolling blackouts across various regions in recent months

Kazakhstan energy officials shut down 13 illegal data farms In crypto crackdown

Source: Pixabay

Nur-Sultan, February 22 - Neftegaz.RU. Energy officials in Kazakhstan say they have over the past week uncovered 13 illegal data-mining farms collectively using capacity of more than 200 MW.
The facilities have been found all over the country, Eurasianet has reported.
The Energy Ministry said in a statement on February 21:
  • Efforts to identify and disconnect mining farms from the electrical grid will continue, and the relevant government bodies are also conducting investigations into the data-mining farms that have been detected
War on unlicensed crypto-miners was declared earlier this year by Digital Development, Innovation & Aerospace Industry Minister Bagdat Musin, who appealed for help from the public in implementing the crackdown.
He said on February 3:
  • Gray miners are doing a lot of harm to our power grid
  • The energy costs of illegal mining are estimated to exceed 1 GW
A few days later, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called on the government to draw up guidelines for regulating and developing the sector.
Tokayev said on February 8:
  • The government should develop a full-fledged package of solutions for the regulation and development of digital mining, I expect results by April 1
  • The government is not opposed to ‘white’ miners, but people who want to operate in this sector must have a license, get their electricity at the appropriate tariffs, declare their income and pay taxes, and get involved in green projects
China’s de facto ban on crypto-mining last summer precipitated a boom for the industry in Kazakhstan, where operators took advantage of relatively low electricity costs to turn the country for a while into the 2nd-biggest crypto-mining center in the world.

Many have done so without registering themselves with the authorities, however, leading to a series on knock-on problems.
They use copious volumes of electricity at household rates, thereby depriving power providers of revenue.
Unpredictability in usage patterns also complicates the ability of electricity producers to draw up reliable output plans.

According to the Energy Ministry, power consumption in January-October 2021 grew by 8 % compared to the same period a year earlier.
In earlier years, consumption grew annually by less than 2 %.

Some of the illegal data farms have been going about their business with remarkable brazenness, though.
The facility found in the Pavlodar region, for example, was situated within the grounds of a coal-fired thermal power station in the town of Ekibastuz.
Another was operating out of 6 containers at an industrial park in the commercial capital of Almaty.

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