Crypto mining company Xive shut down a 2,500-rig mine in South Kazakhstan due to lack of sufficient electricity supply from the national grid, co-founder Didar Bekbau told CoinDesk on Wednesday.
Kazakhstan has been grappling with electricity shortages, partly caused by an influx of crypto miners from China. The southern part of the country is particularly vulnerable as the region lacks abundant electricity generating plants and the national grid cannot reliably transfer electricity from the energy-rich northern region.
Crypto miners, like Xive and Enegix, have been facing electricity issues since September due to rationing from KEGOC, the national grid operator. KEGOC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Xive is preparing a new site for the over 2,500 machines, but “it is clear that mining in south Kazakhstan is not possible anymore,” Bekbau told CoinDesk.
Other miners in south Kazakhstan are also looking for hosting sites for moving their machines but there are “no options” left in the country,” he said. Some have found hosts for their mines in Russia and the U.S., he added.
Last month, the Ministry of Energy released a draft regulation that would cap the buildout of new mines to 100 megawatts. The ministry later said that they would not restrict electricity to lawful mines, as long as it does not jeopardize the national grid.
Recently, the government said it wants to encourage crypto miners to develop independent renewable energy capacity. The industry hopes that after Kazakhstan expands its renewable electricity capacity in the next one-two years, the limit might change, Sapar Akhmetov, chairman of the board of the Kazakhstan Association of Blockchain Technology told CoinDesk.
As of August, Kazakhstan is the world’s second-largest crypto mining country after the U.S., according to data from the Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index by the Center for Alternative Finance at the University of Cambridge.
Bekbau tweeted a video early on Nov. 24 of the last rigs being moved out of the mine.
Little sad to shut down our mining farm in south KZ. Last container is ready to be sent. So much work, people, hopes are ruined. Country risk played out pic.twitter.com/J8ZMg6GeUI
— Didar (@didar_bekbau) November 24, 2021