Kosovo police seized another batch of more than 200 mining devices as part of the raids that began Thursday. The offensive against underground crypto farms was launched after Pristina authorities banned the power-hungry minting of digital currencies amid an energy crisis in the country.
Kosovo Authorities Confiscate Mining Equipment In Majority Serb North
Law enforcement officers in Kosovo have seized hundreds of mining machines as part of efforts to curb crypto mining activities in the face of electricity shortages. One person has been arrested in the latest police operation in the predominantly Serbian northern part of the country.
A statement issued by the Kosovo police revealed that authorities seized 272 devices used for the production of cryptocurrencies in the municipality of Leposavic, AFP reported. “All the action was carried out and ended without incident,” Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla said in a Facebook post.
Finance Minister Hekuran Murati also took to the social media platform to point out that the estimated monthly consumption of mining equipment is equivalent to the energy used by 500 households, valued between 60,000 and 120,000 euros. Murati also stated:
We cannot allow the illegal enrichment of some at the expense of taxpayers.
The new seizure brought the total number of mining rigs seized to 342 since raids on miners began earlier this week, data from the Interior Ministry shows. The crackdown began after the Pristina government halted all mining operations on Tuesday, citing the growing power deficit in the cold winter months.
Mining repression threatens to increase ethnic tensions
Amid the government offensive against mining facilities, tensions have risen between Kosovo’s central government, dominated by ethnic Albanians, and ethnic Serbs, who form the majority in four northern municipalities of the partially recognized republic in the Southeast Europe. Serbs do not accept Pristina’s authority and have not paid for electricity in more than two decades, since the Kosovo war of 1998-1999.
The country’s utility company continues to cover its bills with its own income and, according to local media estimates, the total is 12 million euros per year. The current energy crisis, compounded by insufficient local generation and rising import prices, brought the issue to the fore. The police have also carried out two raids in areas with an ethnic Albanian majority, seizing 70 mining devices.
The crypto mining ban was presented by Economy Minister Artane Rizvanolli as an emergency step, along with other measures proposed by a special parliamentary committee. However, critics have raised doubts about its legality as the minting of digital currencies is not prohibited under current legislation. A bill on crypto regulation submitted to parliament in October has yet to be adopted.
Do you expect the Kosovo authorities to continue their crackdown on crypto miners? Do share your thoughts on the matter in the comment section below.
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