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Abkhazian authorities still discovering illegal block reward mining farms despite ban

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The Republic of Abkhazia has continued to discover illegal block reward mining complexes despite a ban on the activity. Law enforcement authorities have shut down another block reward mining farm in the de facto South Caucasus state, confiscating 31 mining machines.

According to an official press release, the facility was located in the rural village of Yashtuha, in the Sukhumi region. The Ministry of Internal Affairs, which joined police officials in the crackdown, announced that the facility was being run by one Khanchalyan Robertovich, a 29-year-old resident.

“Devices in the amount of 31 units withdrawn and placed for safekeeping in a specialized warehouse. In relation to the owner of the cryptocurrency mining farm Khanchalyan A.R., an administrative protocol was drawn up under Part 2 of the Act. 96 note 1 of the Administrative Code of the Republic,” a translation of the Russian language release said.

The culprit will face fines and criminal liability charges for illegal electricity usage as stipulated by the region’s laws. In the past few years, several such discoveries have been made as Abkhazians have largely turned to block reward mining as an alternative source of income.

However, the activity has been blamed for the republic’s energy crisis. Attempts by the government to embrace the industry back in 2019 by regulating it proved unsustainable. This has resulted in a series of bans on the activity that have also been proving futile.

Cheap energy has been the major incentive

According to a Reuters report, the major factor that has let the illegal block reward mining thrive in the republic has been cheap energy. Reuters noted that the police investigations show that most households and businesses operate small-scale block reward mining operations, and police crackdowns have done nothing to stop the activity.

The government is currently looking to improve the energy infrastructure to combat repeated power outages caused by the activity. It is also considering creating a “technopark” where miners can be licensed to operate.

Meanwhile, the story is similar in Georgia, which neighbors Abkhazian. In the case of Georgia, the government resorted to making its citizens swear a holy oath not to engage in block reward mining.

The development highlights the global criticism of the high energy consumption of proof of work blockchains, of which Bitcoin is the biggest. Bitcoin mining has been said to also be contributing to environmental degradation.

Watch: CoinGeek New York panel, How to Achieve Green Bitcoin: Energy Consumption & Environmental Sustainability

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