Facing Power Crisis, Kosovo Bans Cryptocurrency Mining

Kosovo’s government banned cryptocurrency mining on Tuesday

Kosovo’s government on Tuesday banned cryptocurrency mining in an effort to curb power consumption as the country faces its worst energy crisis in a decade due to a reduction in production.

“All law enforcement agencies will halt the production of this activity in cooperation with other relevant institutions that will identify the locations where cryptocurrency production takes place,” Economy and Energy Minister Artane Rizvanoli said in a statement.

Due to cheap electricity prices in Kosovo in recent years, many young people in Kosovo have become involved in crypto mining.

The closure of coal-fired power plants and facing high import prices forced authorities to introduce power cuts last month.

European gas prices rose more than 30 percent on Tuesday after short supplies from Russia stoked concerns about energy shortages in the form of cold weather.

In December, Kosovo declared a state of emergency for 60 days, which would allow the government to allocate more money for energy imports, cut more power and introduce drastic measures.

One miner, who spoke on condition of anonymity and who has 40 GPUs (graphics processing units), told Reuters he is paying around 170 euros per month for electricity and profit from mining. Getting around 2,400 euros.

Coin mining is on the rise in northern Kosovo, populated mostly by Serbs who do not recognize the state of Kosovo and refuse to pay for electricity.

The country of 18 million people is now importing more than 40% of its consumed energy, with higher demand during the winter when people primarily use electricity for heating.

About 90% of energy production in Kosovo comes from lignite, a soft coal that produces toxic pollution when burned.

Official figures show that Kosovo has the world’s fifth largest lignite reserves at 12–14 billion tonnes.

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