Kyrgyzstan's State Committee for National Security (SCNS) shut down 500 cryptocurrency mining farms a local news site called 24 reported Saturday, ostensibly so they could no longer put undue strain on the country's power grid.
"More than 500 mining farms illegally connected to power grids have been revealed," SCNS said in a statement that was published by 24. "It should be noted that the mining farms subsequently lead to a shortage of generated electricity, since one set of equipment consumes about 1,500-3,000 kilowatts per hour."
Kyrgyzstan's SNCS conducts counter-terrorism operations and is responsible for rooting out organized crime in the country. The agency doesn't appear to have released an official statement elsewhere about this incident—its website is unreachable at the time of writing—and we don't have details on the scope of the 500 mining operations. For example, how large were these farms, and did they use ASICs or PCs with graphics cards? If they were illegally stealing power, old Bitcoin ASICs would be the likely culprit, since they're otherwise not profitable for mining these days.
This wouldn't be the first time Kyrgyzstan has targeted crypto miners, though. Bitcoin.com reported in May that authorities had seized 2,000 mining rigs from operations surrounding the capital city of Bishkek. Below you can see a video from one of their busts earlier this year.
Kyrgyzstan isn't alone in targeting crypto miners for their power usage. China's ongoing crackdown on the practice is purportedly motivated by similar concerns, and Iran temporarily banned cryptocurrency mining earlier this year because it feared the practice would increase the likelihood of blackouts during the summer.
Police in the UK have shut down mining operations for stealing electricity, too. In July, police in the Malaysian city of Miri released a video showing them steamrolling over a thousand mining rigs because they relied on stolen power. (24 didn't say what SCNS planned to do with the rigs confiscated as part of this recent operation.)
The environmental impact of mining cryptocurrency has become increasingly contentious in recent months. It's particularly difficult to defend miners stealing electricity to increase their profits, especially in countries without reliable power grids, even if some regimes use those concerns to mask their actual motivations.
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Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.
i still don't know why crypto devs haven't increased mining difficulty to reduce mining activity/profitability. sure, it makes for a more secure but already huge network but the problems such as this and GPU shortage. reduced mining also reduces inflation of the coin.Reply
They will do whatever benefits them the most. Increase, decrease, leave it the same...zodiacfml said:i still don't know why crypto devs haven't increased mining difficulty to reduce mining activity/profitability. sure, it makes for a more secure but already huge network but the problems such as this and GPU shortage. reduced mining also reduces inflation of the coin.
The GPU shortage is, to them, irrelevant.
Pay the power bill like everyone else?Reply
That probably wouldn't be enough in some regions where the power grids aren't very robust, and where other inhabitants need A/C and heating during those hot summers and cold winters.
Maybe they could duct some of that heat to homes...
Some of the good spots are likely already taken by other farms, and others are on alert for abnormal power use...
I guess the world isn't ready for worldwide mining farms yet...