Coal-based Bitcoin mining surges in Kazakhstan amid China’s ban

Bitcoin mining continues to rely primarily on electricity generated from fossil fuels despite increased attention to the climate balance sheet of crypto mining.

Kazakhstan, where fossil fuels make up almost the entire energy mix, has seen its global share of the boom in Bitcoin mining in recent months, just before a Chinese crackdown on mining the world’s most popular cryptocurrency.

Chinese authorities crackdown on crypto mining has seen over 90% of China’s Bitcoin mining capacity to close since last month.

The Chinese ban did not mean that cryptocurrency mining had never stopped. The miners had only to find new markets to do so. One of those places is Kazakhstan, a Central Asian country rich in oil, gas and coal resources, notes Matthew Sparkes, New Scientist technology reporter.

Kazakhstan noted the increase in crypto-mining activity – with electricity produced from fossil fuels, mainly coal – and decided in late June to collect additional electricity for crypto miners. Price supplement set to take effect in early 2022, Bitcoin blockchain and magazine ForkLog reported.

Cryptocurrency mining has recently gained a lot of attention due to the large amount of energy it absorbs. Elon Musk, who said earlier this year that people can buy Teslas with Bitcoin, reneged on that promise weeks later, saying crypto mining is still largely powered by energy derived from fossil fuels. . More recently, Musk said last month that Tesla could start accepting cryptocurrency again. if crypto mining turns green.

Kazakhstan, where renewable energies only represented 1.4% of the energy mix in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) The data, saw its global Bitcoin mining share jump nearly six times, from 1.4% in September 2019 to 8.2% in April 2021, catapulting it to third place in the global mining powerhouse, new search from the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance (CCAF) showed Thursday. The report found that China’s share was dropping sharply even before the government crackdown in June. China’s share of Bitcoin’s total mining power has increased from 75.5% in September 2019 to 46% in April 2021, the CCAF said.

By Charles Kennedy for Oil chauffage

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