Crypto mining is threatening to draw a nation into chaos – with angry Abkhazian villagers reportedly taking the law into their own hands by kicking miners out of their regions.
The latest development in the South Caucus-located de facto state has seen anarchic uprisings, with miners thrown out on their ears – and politicians apparently divided as to how to deal with what is rapidly descending into a national crisis.
The government has gone back and forth with its crypto mining laws recently, first banning mining outright, then reversing its ban – before being urged to make yet another U-turn with local energy providers claiming the power network is on its knees.
Per media outlet Ekho Kavkaza, top lawmakers have held emergency meetings, with the speaker of the parliament’s lower house, Valeriy Kvarchia, telling MPs about a case in the village of Duripsh, in the Gudauta District of Abkhazia, the Russia-backed de facto republic that is recognized by most countries as an autonomous republic of Georgia.
Kvarchia stated that village residents had “decided to resist mining efforts themselves, without contacting [law-enforcement] authorities.”
The speaker added,
“[The villagers have] shut down all the farms that were mining cryptoassets. And there was a big scandalous gathering. Similar situations may occur in other villages and other cities, too.”
This week, MPs have already urged the government to retract its permit-based system that allows miners to operate freely in Abkhazia, so long as they register and pay taxes on their earnings. The government estimates that it could make up to USD 661,000 by taxing miners, although many residents are now going without power for hours on end, with region-wide two-hour shutdowns now becoming regular occurrences.
But blackouts and brownouts have been reported across the region, as miners continue to push ahead with their efforts, making the most of low energy prices and falling winter temperatures – while crypto prices continue to balloon.
The waters have been muddied yet further by allegations circulating on social media that the state’s former Economy Minister is operating what some claim is “one of the biggest crypto mining farms in Abkhazia.”
The same media outlet quotes a presidential representative to parliament as stating that harsher penalties for unregistered miners are already being put into place. The cabinet has urged further action, but the president’s office states that the government has already taken action by extending a ban on mining rig imports to be extended beyond its initial December 2020 target for a further four months.
However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that attempts to ban mining rig imports to Abkhazia are something of a lost cause.
Meanwhile, in Russia, a raging inferno in a St. Petersburg apartment left its male occupant – also a crypto miner – hospitalized with burns to his hands, back and neck, per 78.ru. Firefighters spent 40 minutes fighting the blaze. The media outlet reported that the man had failed to install a cooling system, leading to a potentially lethal overheating fault in his mining hardware.
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