Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, energy is becoming the real enemy

In recent months the Outages in coal-fired plants forced the government to import gas from abroad. After several blackouts the Balkan nation has now decided on a 60-day state of emergency during which it plans to impose energy cuts on homes and businesses. The ban on bitcoin mining is at the center of the campaign to overcome this energy crisis and the Kosovan security forces have already seized hundreds of equipment for the extraction of cryptocurrencies in these days. Following these developments the value of bitcoin is collapsed to 36 thousand euros, the lowest in months.

The escalation in Kazakhstan

Even the recent ones anti-government protests in Kazakhstan they turned out to be partly related to bitcoin mining. Since China outlawed the production and marketing of cryptocurrencies, many companies and players in the sector have moved to Kazakhstan to take advantage of favorable regulation, a low cost of energy and a temperature around zero, optimal for cooling. of computers dedicated to mining. They are estimated to have come from China about 90 thousand machines to mine bitcoins.

The Central Asian nation quickly came to be there second in the world for bitcoin production, undermining 18% of the currency. This exploit has also led to an 8% increase in energy use from 2021. A situation which, again thanks to the numerous blackouts, has induced the government to raise electricity prices, thus bringing people to the streets to protest. Not only that: the authorities have promised a squeeze on unregulated cryptomining activities and a tax to companies in the sector. The golden days for Kazakhstan miners may already be abruptly over.

The dilemmas of Iran

The energy impact of mining has been giving lately problems also to Iran, which has an ambiguous relationship with cryptocurrencies. Tehran has in fact turned to bitcoin mining to finance imports, bypassing economic sanctions. This is why it provides low-cost energy to those who mine cryptocurrencies, as long as they sell them to the central bank.

However, the country also resists unlicensed mining, which drains more than two gigawatts a day from the national grid. causing power outages. The government imposed a four-month moratorium on bitcoin mining in May, but after briefly lifted it in the fall, it imposed a second closure on December 28, three days before Kosovo, to save energy in the cold winter months.

The debate in Europe

It is clear in all these cases that, as energy is becoming increasingly scarce around the world, more and more countries are wondering whether it makes sense to allocate a large share of it to a currency with few practical uses. Mining bitcoins consumes 123.2 terawatt / hour per yearAccording to the Cambridge bitcoin electricity consumption index, more energy than Finland, Belgium or Argentina use, eidobeying its sustainability, they are also making room in Europe. Iceland’s national power company, Landsvirkjun, announced last month that it will no longer accept electricity requests from new cryptocurrency miners. Here, too, the bitcoin production industry has contributed to the energy crisis.

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