Companies, legally operating mining facilities in Kazakhstan, have already relocated around 30% of their mining equipment elsewhere. The President of the National Association of Blockchain and Data Center Industry of Kazakhstan Alan Dorjiyev told Forklog about the migration.
The executive noted that miners have been influenced by the persisting issues with energy supply and an expected tax increase. His organization represents major companies involved in the extraction of digital currencies accounting for 70% of Kazakhstan’s crypto mining sector.
The report quotes legislative documents indicating that Kazakhstan’s parliament prepares to impose on miners a tax of 10 tenge (approx. $0.02) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated from domestic energy resources and 5 tenge per kWh for imported electrical energy.
The levy for electricity produced from natural gas and renewable sources, excluding hydropower, will be 3 tenge per kWh, if lawmakers adopt the proposed changes. In 2021, authorities in Nur-Sultan introduced a surcharge of 1 tenge ($0.0023 at the time) per kWh of electricity used to mint cryptocurrencies.
Kazakhstan became a mining hotspot following China’s decision to launch a nation-wide crackdown on the industry in May, and largely due to its capped electricity rates. The country initially welcomed mining companies but since then, their energy-intensive operations have been blamed for a growing power deficit.
To deal with the shortages, the government increased electricity imports from the Russian Federation and shut down legal mining farms amid winter blackouts. Instructed by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the Ministry of Energy, the Financial Monitoring Agency and law enforcement have also gone after illegal miners.
Dorjiyev further commented that the country is gradually becoming an “unfavorable jurisdiction for the crypto mining business.” He also warned that Kazakhstan will lose its leading position in terms of the amount of computing power it controls in the bitcoin network. As of August 2021, the country’s share in the global hashrate had reached 18%, second only to that of the United States.
To quell protests over rising fuel prices in early January, Tokayev’s administration temporarily closed down banks and restricted access to the internet. The measures affected the mining sector as well. The political turmoil and power supply interruptions have already forced some mining companies to relocate to other countries such as the U.S.