The government of Kosovo has decided to ban cryptocurrency mining as the country faces some of the worst power shortages in its history this winter.
There has been widespread controversy and protests over-scheduled power cuts taking place across the country in a bid to conserve energy amid the global energy crisis.
Atrane Rizvanolli, the economy ministry, decided on Tuesday (4 January) to prohibit cryptocurrency mining in Kosovo. He said in a statement that the decision was taken with the recommendation of the Technical Committee on Emergency Measures for Energy Supply.
“These actions are aimed at addressing potential unexpected or long term lack of electricity production capacities, capacities of transmission or distribution of energy to overcome the situation without further burdening the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo,” Rizvanolli said.
The committee was set up to assess various energy-saving measures. Rizvanolli said police and authorities would intervene to ensure the ban was adhered to. Additionally, they will identify locations believed to be mining cryptos such as bitcoin.
A state of emergency was declared in December 2021 that will remain in force for the next 60 days. This allows the government to put aside more money for energy imports and schedule powercuts.
Kosovo gets most of its energy from coal-fired plants and exports fossil fuel energy to neighbouring Albania. In the winter, demand for energy increases, leading to cuts across the country. The scheduled cuts are two hours in length, take place throughout the day, and impact both households and businesses.
Cryptocurrency mining involves significant amounts of energy used to power computers that solve cryptographic equations to be rewarded with currency.