Kosovo police seize 300 crypto mining machines amid electricity shortages

The police in Kosovo have ramped up their efforts to crack down on crypto miners in the country, confiscating more than 300 mining machines on Jan. 8 alone.

An announcement issued by the Kosovo police on Jan. 8 revealed that it had seized 272 “Antminer” Bitcoin mining machines in the municipality of Leposavic, and another 39 mining machines near Prishtina.

The Kosovo Police confiscated 272 “Antminer” crypto mining machines in Leposavic on Jan 8. Source: Kosovo Police

Meanwhile, the police also stopped a driver carrying 6 crypto mining machines with 42 graphics cards (GPUs) near Druar, in Vushtrri. The driver has since been interviewed and released.

The Minister for Economy Artane Rizvanolli tweeted her support for the Kosovo police, writing: “Tens of thousands of Euros per month of taxpayers’ money is saved = energy for hundreds of Kosovar families during the crisis.”

Kosovo’s energy squeeze

In December, Kosovo declared a state of emergency for 60 days amid an energy crisis and electricity shortages. Since then, the Minister of Economy introduced a blanket ban on crypto mining on Jan. 5. Kosovo currently imports over 40% of its energy.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Bitcoin mining uses 101 TWh per year or more energy than the entire country of the Philippines. Despite this, miners are increasingly turning towards renewable energy sources, especially in the United States which has become the new hub for mining operations. 

According to Netherlands-based news platform The Paypers, crypto mining has been on the rise in Kosovo for some time. Until very recently, electricity has been free for those living in the Serb-majority Northern municipalities since the end of the Kosovo War in 1999.

Related: Iran pauses electricity exports due to crypto mining and hot summer

At the end of Nov 2021, Electricity network system operator KOSTT announced that it will no longer supply free power to the four municipalities in the country’s North: Mitrovica North, Zvecan, Zubin Potok, and Leposavic.

The Balkan country was part of Serbia until 2008 when it declared independence and has upheld these subsidies since. In recent months, several other nations have also expressed concerns about mining-related power outages, including Iran and Kazakhstan.


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Kosovo Imposes Temporary Ban on Crypto Mining, Facing Local Electricity Crisis

Cryptocurrency miners in Kosovo are facing a temporary ban on crypto mining from the government to curb electricity consumption as the country faces a severe energy crisis.

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The country has reported seeing the worst energy crisis in a decade due to production outages.

“All law enforcement agencies will stop the production of this activity in cooperation with other relevant institutions that will identify the locations where there is cryptocurrency production,” Economy and Energy Minister Artane Rizvanolli said in a statement.

Rizvanolli acted on the advice of the Technical Committee for Emergency Measures in Energy Supply on December 31, 2021, as part of a set of relief measures.

Prior to the ban, the eastern European country had seen an increasing number of young people who got involved in crypto mining due to cheap power prices in the country.

Unfortunately, authorities were forced last month to introduce power cuts due to coal-fired power plant outages and high import prices.

One miner, who spoke on condition of anonymity and got 40 GPUs (Graphics Processing Units), told Reuters he was paying around 170 euros per month for electricity and is getting approximately 2,400 euros per month in profit from mining.

According to a report by the Gazeta Express, the government declared a state of emergency in December, lasting for 60 days, allowing it to allocate more money for energy imports and introduce power cuts.

The country of 1.8 million people is now importing more than 40% of its consumed energy with high demand during the winter.

The move to ban crypto mining is similar to Iran’s measure on December 28. Iran announced that it will ban all crypto mining activities until March 6 to save power and avoid blackouts over the winter.

According to a December 28, 2021, report by Blockchain.News. The Iran Grid Management Company, also known as the Tavanir, cut off the power supply to licensed cryptocurrency miners, a significant step against its backing for the controversial adventure.

However, the motive behind this move is understandable as energy conservation amidst decreasing temperatures is a top priority, local Iribnews reported citing Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, chairman of the board and managing director of the Tanavir.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Amid Electricity Shortages, Kosovo Government Places Ban On Crypto Mining

Kosovo has banned crypto mining on Tuesday in an effort to reduce electricity use as the country grapples with its worst energy crisis in a decade as a result of electricity disruptions.

Kosovo Bans Crypto Mining Operations

Due to electricity shortages during the winter season, the government of Kosovo has decided to stop crypto mining in the country.

According to a report by local newspaper Gazeta Express, Kosovo’s Minister of Economy, Artane Rizvanolli, has decided to ban crypto mining following a recommendation from the Technical Committee on Emergency Measures for Energy Supply.

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The government made the decision after Kosovo’s energy supply fell below the required level, and it began imposing electric power cutbacks during high usage hours, according to the article.

Law enforcement authorities are expected to intervene to block the manufacture of crypto currencies, and try to locate places where such operations take place.

Economy and Energy Minister Artane Rizvanolli said in a statement:

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“All law enforcement agencies will stop the production of this activity in cooperation with other relevant institutions that will identify the locations where there is cryptocurrency production.”

In reaction to the problem, the administration has decided to form a technical committee to evaluate emergency energy supply strategies, according to Rizvanolli. Last week, the government decided to take immediate actions in response to the committee’s recommendations, including prohibiting crypto mining over Kosovo’s borders.

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BTC/USD still below $50k. Source: TradingView

Related article | Could The New “China Model” Be The Reason The Country Banned Bitcoin Mining?

Winter Is Coming

According to Gazeta Express, the government declared a state of emergency in December for 60 days, allowing it to allocate more money for energy imports and implement power cutbacks.

Low supplies from Russia revived fears of an energy shortage as the colder winter approaches, sending European gas prices soaring by more than 30% on Tuesday.

One miner, who requested anonymity and owns 40 GPUs (Graphics Processing Units), told Reuters that he spends roughly 170 euros per month on power and makes around 2,400 euros per month from mining.

Cryptocurrency mining has become more popular in northercrypto kosovo, which is primarily populated by Serbs who refuse to pay power bills because they do not recognize Kosovo’s independence.

The 1.8 million population-strong country now imports more than 40% of its energy, with significant demand in the winter when inhabitants mostly use power for heating.

The energy emergency measures may look draconian, but they are the result of years of energy problems in Kosovo, which have manifested themselves in blackouts across the country and have been aggravated by a severe lack of control and a slumping economy. While crypto miners have been able to take advantage of the low-cost energy, crypto mining’s high electricity usage is incompatible with a country that is experiencing widespread power outages and a sector of the country that has only recently began to pay for its electricity.

Related article | Why Did China Ban Bitcoin Mining? Here Are The Seven Leading Theories


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