Tech

Jasmine Solana

Kazakhstan PM pays a visit to newly-launched crypto mining firm

One of Kazakhstan‘s top leaders has reportedly toured the facility of the country’s largest crypto mining firm, the BNK Energy LLP, in the northeastern region of Pavlodar.

On Friday, Egemen Qazaqstan reported that Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev paid a visit to the crypto mining facility located in the town of Ekibastuz, and “examined the mining cells in the first workshop and electronic meters at the control station.”

BNK Energy, which was described as a provider of “services in the field of [crypto] mining,” was launched last August 6. It offers hosting services for mining farms, including field placement of crypto mining rigs as well as analysis and monitoring of the equipment, and “uninterrupted power and internet communications.”

The firm considers itself one of largest players in the crypto mining field at the moment. It reportedly has chosen to set up operations in Pavlodar due to the surplus of electricity in the region, not to mention the government’s low tariffs for the nascent industry. Pavlodar has been eyeing to attract crypto mining farms and crypto companies as part of its bid to become “a center for popularization of blockchain technologies,” the Kazakh news outlet reported.

Since it was launched, the BNK Energy facility—which reportedly costs KZT5.7 billion (US$15.32 million)—has been consuming 4MW of energy, but that capacity will be increased by 11MW during the second stage of the launch on September 20, and then by another 18MW on November 20. BNK Energy plans to consume 33MW by the end of 2018, according to the report.

BNK Energy’s launch comes several months after Kazakhstan’s National Bank declared that it is mulling a ban on crypto-related activities in the country, including cryptocurrency mining. Last March, National Bank Governor Daniyar Akishev was quoted by local news outlet Sputnik saying: “We want to ban the exchange of digital currencies for the national currency. We want to prohibit the stock exchange’s activities in this area, as well as every type of mining.”

This article has been updated to correct the company’s name, which was initially identified as BNKA Energy.

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