Cryptocurrency mining banned in Kosovo to save electricity

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The Kosovar government on Tuesday put a ban on cryptocurrency mining to curb electricity consumption as the country faces the worst energy crisis in a decade due to production outages.

“All law enforcement agencies will cease production of this activity in collaboration with other relevant institutions that will identify the locations where cryptocurrencies are produced,” Economy and Energy Minister Artane Rizvanolli said in a statement.

Due to the cheap electricity prices in Kosovo in recent years, many young people in Kosovo have been engaged in cryptocurrency mining.

With coal-fired power plant outages and high import prices, authorities were forced to introduce blackouts last month.

European gas prices rose more than 30 percent on Tuesday after low supplies from Russia rekindled concerns about an energy crisis as colder weather approached.

In December, Kosovo declared a state of emergency for 60 days, which will allow the government to allocate more money to energy imports, introduce more blackouts and tougher measures.

A miner who spoke on condition of anonymity and who has 40 GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) told Reuters that he pays around 170 EUR (approx. 14,300 rupees) a month for electricity and receives around 2,400 EUR (approx. 2 lakh). ) Per month profit from mining.

Coin mining is increasing in northern Kosovo, which is mainly inhabited by Serbs who do not recognize the state of Kosovo and refuse to pay for electricity.

The country with a population of 1.8 million now imports more than 40 percent of the energy it consumes, with a high demand in winter, when people mainly use electricity for heating.

Around 90 percent of energy production in Kosovo comes from lignite, a soft coal that produces toxic pollutants when burned.

Official figures show that Kosovo has the fifth largest lignite reserves in the world with 12 to 14 billion tons.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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