Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has declared war on BTC miners.
He ordered the authorities to carry out a real “hunt” on miners, identifying who they are and where they are located. The objective is to close mining pools that do not agree to pay a higher fee for electricity.
Tokayev did not declare the activity illegal. However, he said miners will be required to hold a government license and pay more energy taxes.
Now, in addition to electricity shortages, which have already forced some companies to leave Kazakhstan, cryptocurrency miners also face increased taxes and stricter supervision.
According to statements by government officials, authorities in the Central Asian country are considering a five-fold increase in the electricity tax for mining activity.
If confirmed, this will be a stark increase for miners who, as early as last summer, faced a surcharge of 1 tenge (approximately $0.0023) per kilowatt hour.
“The current rate is negligible. I instruct the government to work out a multiple increase in this tax as soon as possible,” said President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
In addition, the head of state highlighted that the socio-economic effect of the mining business is minimal, noting that the sector does not create many jobs or products, but consumes a lot of energy.
Tokayev further cited that, in some cases, miners use subsidized electricity. They also pay no taxes on imported equipment, he said, and withdraw their profits in other jurisdictions, taking money out of the country.
“Whoever wants to work in this area must have a proper license, receive electricity at adequate rates, declare income and pay taxes, launch green energy projects,” added the president.
Kazakhstan has become a major mining hotspot since China banned mining last May.
The miners were initially well received by Kazakhstan. However, the growing energy deficit has come to be attributed to the cryptocurrency industry. As a result, the country had to increase electricity imports from neighboring Russia. At the same time, it closed pool farms amid winter blackouts.