Following a tumultuous few weeks, Kazakhstan’s power crisis has deepened, leading to the suspension of bitcoin mining in the country. Kazakhstan welcomed bitcoin miners en masse after China affected its blanket ban on cryptocurrency. Now, the mining rigs have come to a grinding halt as the country struggles to keep the electricity going, similar to what Iran experienced during the summer.
The Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company has confirmed that bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining companies have been unable to use electricity for mining since January 24. The measure is supposed to continue until January 31 and provide Kazakhstan with sufficient time to deal with its ongoing energy crisis.
Despite this measure, though, Kazakhstan went dark earlier this week, with Tuesday seeing the country cut almost its entire power. While everyday people may expect to see power return soon, bitcoin miners are caught between a rock.
They escaped China hoping to have cheap electricity on tap. Yet, a week filled with unrest and civil riots led to the country drastically changing its shift on cryptocurrency – mostly because of the lack of energy to power the ever-hungry monster that is bitcoin mining.
The crisis that Kazakhstan experiences now is partially self-made. The country wanted to abandon coal as an energy source and shift towards nuclear energy to provide even more cheap electricity for crypto miners. However, a skyrocketing number of miners – some 8% of the total energy supply the country has – has made this far more difficult. Some companies have suffered more than others.
In the meantime, there have been illegal operations connecting to the grid just as well. With the government busy quelling civil unrest, the cumulative effect of legal and illegal bitcoin mining has plunged the country into darkness. Another light for the bitcoin industry has winked out.