In Kosovo, several crypto mining rigs were apprehended by the police on Saturday, and one person was arrested following a major energy crisis in the country.
The cryptocurrency mining process (of creating Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other digital currencies) consumes vast amounts of energy. The process involves solving hours of complex computing equations meant to create crypto.
On Tuesday, Kosovo’s government had had enough. It imposed a ban on all crypto mining activities in a bid to lower electricity consumption in the country.
The move triggered a conflict between the government and the tense ethnic-Serb majority area (yet to pay electricity since the end of the 1998-1999 ethnic war)
It’s from this operation that the police arrested one person and “[recovered about] 272 different anti miner devices used for the production of Bitcoin”. This is according to a Kosovo police statement.
Confiscated equipment consumes energy to power a village
In a Facebook post, Hekuran Murati, Kosovo’s Finance Minister, stated that the confiscated crypto mining equipment uses energy enough to power at least 500 homes in a month—and consumes electricity worth between $68,000 and $136,000.
In disgust, Murati exclaimed this is unacceptable. “We cannot allow the illegal enrichment of some, at the expense of taxpayers.”
Since the end of the ethnic war between the Albanian guerrilla and Serbian armed forces in 1999, ethnic Serbians (especially those living in Kosovo’s four northern municipalities) have never paid electricity.
And yet, the north consumes electricity worth nearly $14 million every year.
The energy problem in Kosovo is so dire that two of the country’s main power plants have shut down, prompting power reduction efforts by the government.
Crypto mining hunt an “emergency measure”
Police in Kosovo early in the week confiscated at least 70 pieces of cryptocurrency mining equipment during two operations in the ethnic Albanian majority areas.
Artane Rizvanolli, Kosovo’s Economy Minister, said the hunt for cryptocurrency mining activities will not stop, dubbing the process “an emergency measure” thanks to the ongoing energy crisis in the country.
But experts I’ve come out of the woodwork with guns blazing, condemning the ban on cryptocurrency mining as illegal adding no law regulates crypto activities. They also questioned police operations on the issue.
Kosovo’s capital said a cryptocurrency bill was drafted in October last year and parliament was expected to adopt it by the end of 2021. But the legislation is still pending regarding the issue.
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