Authorities in Russia’s energy-rich Irkutsk region have slapped heavy fines on cryptominers this year for illegally using electricity to produce digital currencies. Power companies have also filed hundreds of lawsuits, a report citing prosecutors reveals. Irkutsk cryptocurrency miners to pay 100 million rubles in fines by 2022 Cryptocurrency mining has become a profitable business for many companies in Russia’s energy-rich regions and an alternative source of income for Russians currents Despite the generally low rates of electricity for commercial purposes, many have been tempted to mint digital currencies from cheaper domestic power or even stolen power. Authorities in Irkutsk, an energy-rich Siberian province where tariffs start at $0.01 per kWh in rural districts, have been cracking down on illegal mining operations.
The latter have caused an increase in consumption in both residential and industrial areas, allegedly causing frequent breakdowns and outages across the region. This year alone, local power distribution companies have filed 400 complaints against miners illegally taking advantage of subsidized electricity destined for the population or illegally connecting their hardware to the grid. Meanwhile, courts have imposed fines of almost 100 million rubles (nearly $1.7 million at the time of writing).
According to a January report, the Irkutskenergosbyt utility alone sought to recover 63 million rubles (nearly $800,000) from illegal miners. During the latest raids, more than 9,000 units of mining equipment have been dismantled and removed from the Baikalsk thermal power plant and the village of Ust-Ordynsky, the regional Prosecutor’s Office announced this week, as cited by the Federal Press portal. The closure of the underground mining farms will prevent accidents at the heat supply facility, a press release noted. Mining is among crypto-related activities still awaiting comprehensive regulation in Russia, with many officials in Moscow arguing that it should be recognized as an industrial activity and taxed accordingly, citing Russia’s competitive advantages such as ‘cheap energy and cool climate.
In March, the Russian Ministry of Energy called for its urgent legalization and suggested the introduction of regional energy quotas for miners. Home mining, on the other hand, is a phenomenon that the Russian authorities want to limit. While a finance ministry official indicated this spring that the government sees no point in trying to ban it entirely, an industry association of energy suppliers proposed measures to curb mining in basements and garages and the antitrust agency of the country suggested the introduction of higher electricity rates for fans. crypto miners Tags in this story courts, Crypto, crypto farms, crypto miners, cryptomining, Cryptocurrencies, Cryptocurrency, fines, Irkutsk, Lawsuits, Measures, Miners, mining, mining hardware, prosecution, restrictions, Russia, Russian, Seizure.