Kosovo police seize 174 Crypto Mining rigs from Serbs

Kosovo police seize 174 Crypto Mining rigs from Serbs
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Kosovo police seize 174 Crypto Mining rigs from Serbs. Authorities and police conducted searches in a northern Kosovo municipality populated by Serbs on Friday.

Fast fact

  • Kosovo police have seized dozens of cryptocurrency mining devices from residents of a predominantly Serb region in the country’s north.

Law enforcement in Kosovo raided cryptocurrency mining operations in a northern municipality where Serbs make up the majority of the population, according to the Turkish Anadolu Agency, citing a member of the Albanian-led government in Pristina.

Pristina banned cryptocurrency mining in Kosovo in January 2022, citing the harmful impacts of the global energy crisis, and repeated the ban in August, confiscating hundreds of crypto mining machines last year. 

Police have confiscated 174 devices designed to create digital currencies, according to Economy Minister Artane Rizvanolli. Rizvanolli announced the operation on social media, claiming that nonpayment of electricity bills fosters illegal crypto mining.

“Failure to pay electricity bills encourages such illegal activities. Therefore, Serbia hinders the implementation of the energy deal.”

Kosovo, which is majority Albanian, has had difficulty paying the Serb population of northern Kosovo for electricity consumption for the past 23 years since the country gained independence from Serbia.

While the four northern municipalities have only 2% of the city’s total 1.8 million population, they consume 6% of the city’s electricity, and their consumption is increasing, from 214 GWh in 2011 to 267 GWh in 2017 and 372 GWh in 2021.

In order to minimize unpaid electricity usage, the Kosovo government has proposed a temporary ban on crypto mining until the end of 2021, as well as a crackdown on imported equipment.

According to Belgrade, the crackdown is an attempt to incite Serbs to increase tensions in the breakaway territory. The Office for Kosovo and Metohija, part of Serbia’s administration, emphasized that the raids took place on Good Friday, a holy day for Orthodox Christians, and described the police operation as a continuation of harassment of the Serbian people.

According to Blerim Vela, the cabinet leader of Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani, Serbia portrays the operation as one aimed at Serbs. He stated that,

“The Serbian government openly supports criminal activity in northern Kosovo and tries to present it as an attack on local Serbs.”

According to reports, unpaid energy and water bills in four Serb towns in northern Kosovo total more than €300 million, or almost $330 million.

Precedence Research forecasts that the global cryptocurrency mining business will grow from $1.92 billion in 2022 to $7 billion in 2032, with a CAGR of 12.90% between 2023 and 2032.

Featured image: Shutterstock

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