The influx of Bitcoin miners from China into Kazakhstan has exacerbated an energy shortage, which the president of the Central Asian nation has suggested resolving with nuclear power.
Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Energy blames Bitcoin miners for an increase of 8% in national energy use in 2021. As per figures from the Financial Times, the nation has acquired at least 87,849 Bitcoin mining devices from Chinese businesses so far this year, after China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency mining.
As per the Kazakhstan Electrical Grid Operating Company, the large rise in demand has resulted in a country’s power supply shortage and inconsistent electricity supplies. At a bankers’ conference on Friday, President Tokayev said he believes constructing a nuclear power plant would help relieve the strain on his nation’s electrical infrastructure:
“Looking into the future, we will have to make an unpopular decision about the construction of a nuclear power plant.”
While Tokayev did not mention Bitcoin mining power use in his plan, 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, the co-founder of Xive, tweeted on Tuesday that his firm’s mining operation had to be closed due to limited electricity supply from the power system.
Kazakhstan presently has 50 licensed cryptocurrency mining firms and an unknown number of unlicensed ones.
For a nation that endured catastrophic radioactive fallout from weapons testing during the Soviet era, the choice to develop new nuclear power plants is a serious one. The last nuclear power station in Kazakhstan was shut down in 1999.
Presently, fossil fuel-burning power plants provide around 88 percent of Kazakhstan’s electricity.