The migration of Bitcoin miners from China to Kazakhstan contributed to the energy crisis that the president of the Central Asian country wanted to solve with nuclear energy.
The Kazakh Ministry of Energy has attributed an 8% increase in electricity consumption in the country to Bitcoin miners in 2021. According to Financial Instances, the country has received at least 87,849 bitcoin miners from Chinese companies this year after China’s crypto-mining crackdown.
According to the Kazakh network operator company, the significant increase in demand has led to a deficit in domestic electricity supply and has contributed to the creation of unreliable electricity services. President Tokayev told bankers at a November 19 meeting that he believed that building a nuclear power plant would help ease the burden on his country’s electricity infrastructure:
“Looking ahead, we will have to make an unpopular decision to build a nuclear power plant.”
Although Tokayev doesn’t link the proposal to bitcoin mining’s energy consumption, the failure to keep the miners in the country could jeopardize the estimated $ 1.58 billion in tax revenues that the miners are exploiting. Power shortages forced the Bitcoin Xive mining market to leave Kazakhstan. Didar Bekbau, co-founder of Xive, said in a 25 tweet that he had to close his company’s mining farm because of “limited electricity supply from the grid”.
A little sad to have to close our mining farm in the southern concentration camp. The last container is ready for submission. How many jobs, people and hopes have been destroyed. Country risk fixed pic.twitter.com/J8ZMg6GeUI
– Didar (@didar_bekbau) November 24, 2021
Kazakhstan is currently home to 50 registered crypto miners and an unknown number of unregistered companies.
Related: “We are the number two cryptocurrency miner in the world and we see practically no financial gain,” said Kazakh President Tokayev
The decision to build new nuclear power plants was a serious decision in a country that suffered severe nuclear consequences during the Soviet occupation through weapons tests. The last nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan was closed in 1999.
Around 88% of Kazakhstan’s electricity comes from fossil-fuel power plants.