Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) Mining in Abkhazia, the partially recognized breakaway republic of Georgia, is shaping up to be a dangerous endeavor.
What happened: A Reuters report highlighted several cases in which illegal Bitcoin miners in Abkhazia dealt with thieves, who came after their precious mining rigs.
Unidentified Abkhaz miner Valerie $10,000 worth of mining servers were stolen from a garage one fall morning.
“They cleaned up the place completely,” said a miner from the Black Sea region. He added that he was “angry and frustrated,” according to the Reuters report.
The report stated that miners and thieves of mining equipment used armed violence.
In October, five men armed with Kalashnikovs killed a member of their gang after they opened fire on thieves who broke into a country house to steal mining servers, Reuters reported, citing the local prosecutor’s office.
In December, local police reportedly arrested a person after two masked men entered a house in the capital, Sukhumi, and held a family at gunpoint before escaping with three servers and 150,000 rubles ($2040) in cash.
See also: How to buy Bitcoin (BTC)
why does it matter: The government of Abkhazia banned mining in December 2020, after energy-intensive activity overburdened the country’s energy infrastructure, causing accidents such as fires.
In March, the local government imposed heavy fines on violators. The country’s Ministry of Interior has reportedly opened specialized and “secured” warehouses to hold mining equipment confiscated by the authorities. The state also established a hotline to report suspicious activities.
Low energy costs lead Abkhazians to mine cryptocurrency despite government repression, Michael Lambert, a non-resident fellow at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, according to Reuters.
China banned cryptocurrency mining in September, which led to the exodus of bitcoin miners from that country. A report by the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance (CCAF) indicated that these workers were destined for North America, Kazakhstan and Russia.
Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, reached an all-time high of $68,789.63 in November of last year. At the time of writing, it is trading below that level by 32.8%. Over the 24-hour period, Bitcoin is down 6.55% to $4,3303.36.
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