Crypto Mining Unlikely To Be Reason For Blackouts Across Central Asia - Expert

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 25th January, 2022) A widespread power outage in three central Asian countries was unlikely to have been caused by cryptocurrency mining activities in Kazakhstan, though they do serve as a convenient excuse, Ilia Murtazashvili, an associate professor in the Graduate school of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, told Sputnik on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan reported power outages in some of their regions. The AKIpress news agency reported, citing sources, that an accident in the interconnected power system of Central Asia may have been behind the blackout. The Kazakhstan Electricity Grid operating company, in turn, said that the accident occurred due to an overloaded transit line in Kazakhstan. After a two-hour power outage, a phased restoration of power supply began.

"It's unlikely that crypto mining caused the blackout. The Kazakh government can shut down the power to crypto miners and has shut down illicit operations. Crypto miners are a convenient scapegoat, but the question to ask is why the government failed to address the energy imbalances when we know they have the capacity to do so, including shutting down mining," Murtazashvili said.

The expert went on to state that the government's inability to maintain its energy grid is likely to undermine crypto miners, further exacerbating instability.

"These episodes also illustrate that crypto relies to an extent on stable and secure governments. Will mining migrate to areas with greater political certainty? Only time will tell. We ought to be concerned about the crypto miners too," Murtazashvili concluded.

China's crackdown on crypto mining last year has forced miners to set up shop in other countries, including Russia and Kazakhstan. The Central Asian country was said to account for over 18% of the global Bitcoin network hash rate, i.e. the total computational power for mining, in August, according to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.