The influx of Bitcoin miners from China into Kazakhstan has exacerbated an energy shortage, which the president of the Central Asian country has urged should be addressed with nuclear power.
Bitcoin miners received the blame from Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Energy for an increase of 8% in household energy demand in 2021. According to statistics from the Financial Times, the UK has acquired at least 87,849 Bitcoin mining equipment from Chinese enterprises this year as a result of China’s crypto mining crackdown.
According to the Kazakhstan Electrical Grid Operating Company, the significant rise in demand has resulted in a shortage of domestic power and contributed to inconsistent electricity supplies. At a Nov. 19 meeting with financiers, President Tokayev said he believes establishing a nuclear power plant will benefit his country’s electrical infrastructure:
“In the future, we will have to make an uncomfortable decision on nuclear power plant building.”
Tokayev made no mention of Bitcoin mining power usage in his plan. However, failing to retain miners in the nation might imperil the estimated $1.58 billion in tax income they generate. Xive, a Bitcoin mining marketplace, has previously left Kazakhstan due to power constraints. Didar Bekbau, co-founder of Xive, tweeted on Nov. 25 that his company’s mining farm had to shut down owing to “limited electrical availability from the grid.”
Kazakhstan presently has 50 registered cryptocurrency mining firms and an undetermined number of unregistered ones.
Kazakhstan is a country that saw significant radioactive fallout from weapons testing under Soviet control. Hence, the choice to develop new nuclear power plants is a major one. The last nuclear power facility in Kazakhstan was decommissioned in 1999.
Currently, fossil-fuel-burning power plants provide around 88% of Kazakhstan’s energy.