Officials are secretly, and illegally, mining bitcoin in Abkhazia, the country that broke away from Georgia in 1999 and has been recognized as an independent state by only a handful nations, the country's president said.
During a meeting with his cabinet, Aslan Bzhania, elected in 2020, said he has been aware of covert cryptocurrency mining by some civil servants, local news outlet Apsadgil.info reported.
"Among those who own those [mining] devices are representatives of government bodies, per preliminary data," Bzhania said. "We need to investigate this very thoroughly and get rid of such people."
Abkhazia's authorities have been trying to stop illegal mining for a while but little has been achieved, he said, hinting the task might have been sabotaged from within the government.
"Every one of you can keep playing your game, but let's see who wins. District and town majors, you should make your own decisions and, whenever you find a mining farm, fire or reprimand the head of that village," Bzhania said.
He asked Prime Minister Alexander Ankvab and presidential Chief of Staff Alkhas Kvitsinia to identify local officials who have allowed crypto mining and suggest a punishment for each, including firing them.
Earlier this year, Abkhazia deemed all cryptocurrency mining illegal because of chronic electricity shortages in the country. Abkhazians have been experiencing routine blackouts in recent years. Electricity, however, is very cheap, and cryptocurrency mining has been thriving.
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