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December 5, 2022
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Bitcoin Mining: Machines Seized in Kosovo

After Kosovo government banned cryptocurrency mining, police confiscated mining equipment

Kosovo Police confiscate more than 300 bitcoin mining machines in crackdown, and government says crackdown will save”tens of thousands of euros per month”.

In Mitrovica Sul, 67 cryptocurrency mining machines were confiscated, police said they had identified the location in an apartment where investigators found a suspect in “illegal activity”. At another location near Podujeve, police also seized cryptocurrency mining equipment.

“The entire action took place and ended without incident.” Said Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla.

According to Finance Minister Hekuran Murati, the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining each month is estimated to be equivalent to that of 500 homes, with a loss estimated at around €60,000 to €120,000 euros.

“We cannot allow the illegal enrichment of some at the expense of taxpayers,” said Hekuran Murati.

The new seizure brought the total number of mining rigs confiscated to 342 since the attacks on miners began earlier this week. The crackdown began after the government in Pristina suspended all mining operations on Tuesday, citing the growing energy deficit in the cold winter months.

But Arber Jashari, a legal expert from Kosovo, told BIRN:

“There is not sufficient legal basis for banning cryptocurrency mining, considering that no special law regulates this issue.”

While the government has the legal basis to take restrictive measures on electricity, there appears to be no legal framework to ban cryptocurrency mining. Pristina said in October that it had drafted a cryptocurrency bill that parliament was expected to adopt by the end of last year. Legislation is still pending however.

The energy crisis in Kosovo worsened after a production unit at one of the two main power plants stopped working and prompted the government to introduce reductions energy in December. The crisis also arises as a result of rising global import prices and rising demand.

In recent months, several other nations have also expressed concern about mining-related power outages, including Iran and Kazakhstan.

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