Electrical energy Consumption Spikes in Irkutsk as Extra Russians Begin Mining Cryptocurrency – Mining Bitcoin Information


Electricity utilities in Russia’s Irkutsk region have seen a spike in residential electricity use, which they attribute to cryptocurrency mining. Airplanes carrying mining equipment from restricted China continue to land in the region, and cases of hardware theft have also increased significantly.

Irkutsk coping with rising electricity demand amid mining’s growing popularity

Companies that provide electricity to Russia’s Irkutsk region have reported a four-fold increase in consumption by the population in 2021 compared to the previous year, blaming amateur crypto miners for the increase. The development director of the Irkutsk Electric Grid Company, Evgeny Vechkanov, quoted by Tass, pointed to the high crypto prices and China’s mining ban as the main reasons.

Oleg Prichko, CEO of Baikal Energy Company, confirmed that the growth is largely due to “grey” mining. Commenting on the spread, he revealed that only in the first half of January seven Boeing-737s loaded with minting hardware arrived in Irkutsk. “Many trucks transport equipment from China that is not needed there because of the ban. Virtually free equipment is migrating to the Irkutsk region,” Prichko added.

Many residents of Irkutsk Oblast have set up mining operations in their homes and dachas, the report said. The load on the power grid is growing, resulting in frequent outages and power outages. Russian authorities insist that these miners are in fact doing business while continuing to pay for the energy they burn at preferential household rates. These are about four times lower than commercial tariffs and in Irkutsk, prices in rural areas start at just $0.01 per kilowatt hour.

Meanwhile, the number of cases of mining rig theft has also increased. Last year, 344 such crimes were registered in the region. Losses amounted to 160 million rubles (over $2.1 million). Law enforcement officials have so far solved 54 cases, with 66 perpetrators brought to justice. Andrey Zhbanov, head of the Irkutsk regional criminal investigation department, said that in 2021 such crimes were committed almost daily.

Russia’s importance as a mining hotspot has increased significantly since the Chinese government launched a nationwide crackdown on cryptocurrency mining. A study by the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance ranks Russia third in terms of mining capacity, and as of August last year its share of the global bitcoin hashrate was over 11%.

Mining is a profitable business in Russia and also an additional source of income for many ordinary Russians. Its legal status has yet to be determined, and many officials in Moscow have supported the idea of ​​recognizing it as a corporate activity, which would allow the government to tax it and increase electricity tariffs for both mining companies and individual miners. At the same time, electricity suppliers in Russia have proposed measures to curb home mining.

tags in this story

Bitcoin, Consumption, Crypto, Crypto Miner, Crypto Mining, Cryptocurrencies, Cryptocurrency, Current, Energy, Increase, Irkutsk, Miners, Mining, Oblast, Power, Prices, Tariffs, Region, Russia, Russian, Spike, Surge, Tariffs

Do you think Russia will allow its citizens to continue mining cryptocurrencies in their homes? Tell us in the comment section below.

Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchen’s quote: “Being a writer is what I am, not what I do.” Along with crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and business are two other sources of inspiration.

Photo credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

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