Kazakhstan to Limit Power for Crypto Mining to 100 MW Nationwide

New mines will have to consume less than 1 MW over two years in what has become the world’s second-largest bitcoin mining country.

Oct 22, 2021 at 9:21 a.m. UTC
Updated Oct 22, 2021 at 4:29 p.m. UTC

Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Energy plans to limit the electricity consumption of the nation’s crypto mining industry to a total of 100 megawatts (MW) as it looks to curb power shortages.

  • All newly authorized plants will be limited to using just 1 MW over two years, according to an Oct. 1 draft signed by the newly appointed energy minister, Magzum Maratuly Myrzagaliev. The ministerial order doesn’t say if the restriction ends after that period.
  • Kazakhstan has become the second-biggest contributor to the bitcoin network after a crackdown in China that started in May drove out crypto mining companies. It now accounts for 18% of the global hashrate, a measure of computing power used to mine bitcoin, according to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.
  • The 1 MW limit is far below what many existing industrialized mines operate on, but is more than many small cities consume. For example, earlier this week BIT Mining said it is investing in a site in Ohio to take capacity to 100 MW.
  • The ministerial order takes effect 60 days after its publication.
  • Increased demand for electricity is testing the Central Asian country’s electricity grid. Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, was hit by a total blackout in mid-July. Coal plants suffered outages in October, adding to the power shortages, Reuters reported.
  • At a Sept. 30 conference, the energy minister blamed the crypto mining boom for the power shortages, local news site Kazakhstan Today reported.
  • The order also called on the country’s national grid operator, KEGOC, to audit any power plants with capacity of 5 MW within 10 working days. KEGOC is to look for ways crypto miners can use to plug into electricity plants and submit its findings to the ministry.


DISCLOSURE

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Eliza Gkritsi is a CoinDesk news reporter based in Asia.