Deadly protests in Kazakhstan lead to 5-day Internet outage, BTC hash rate drops 13%

Kazakhstan has been going through its most trying time in its 30 years of independence. Following an overnight rise in fuel prices last week, Kazakh residents took their complaints to the streets, and it quickly spiraled into deadly protests that reportedly left over 160 people dead. Last week, the government shut down the Internet to quell the protests, dealing a huge blow to the BTC block reward mining sector and, consequently, a 13% drop in the global BTC hash rate.

It all started on January 2 when residents in the western town of Zhanaozen took to the streets after a sharp and sudden fuel price rise. The protests quickly spread throughout the country and grew to include other issues such as inequality and state corruption. The government struggled to cope with the protests, which left about 20 security officers dead and led to the resignation of the country’s cabinet.

In the midst of all the chaos, the country’s largest telecom company Kazakhtelecom shut down the Internet nationwide. Since then, Kazakhstan has been on an Internet blackout for five days.

Block reward miners in the country were hit hard by the outage. Kazakhstan is the world’s second-largest BTC mining hub after the U.S. and ahead of Russia, accounting for about 18% of the global BTC hash rate. The effect of the Internet shutdown was thus felt by the BTC universe, with YCharts data showing the BTC hash rate dipped by 13.4% in the hours following the shutdown.

The situation in Kazakhstan is slowly returning to normalcy, with Russia leading a collective of neighboring nations that sent their troops to Kazakhstan to restore order. 

In Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city and its former capital, 103 people were reportedly killed in the past week, peace has been restored, and select sectors of the economy such as public transport have reopened. Residents of Almaty woke up to fixed Internet last Monday morning, and with this, the block reward miners are expected to get back into productive ways.

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