Georgian residents of Mestia made to swear holy oath to stop crypto mining
According to local news sources, citizens of Svaneti in Georgia, have officially been made to pledge a “holy oath”, requiring them to abide by the latest government measure of stopping to mine cryptocurrencies owing to a surge in energy shortages.
The economy in the northwest Svaneti town of Georgia is largely dependent on tourism spending, which has risen every year between 2000 and 2019 as per data from Macrotrends. However, the figures dropped as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic before plummeting again recently with the heightened cryptocurrency mining activities in the region.
Amid the bad economy, hundreds of residents of Svaneti, as an act of make do, have turned to mining crypto, with the local government recently blaming the miners for “severely disrupting the available electrical supply.”
The local media outlet, Sputnik Georgia has shown videos of crypto miners crowding a church on December 30, 2021, where they were made to officially pledge a holy oath to St George that they would stop mining cryptocurrency. It is to be noted that such pledges are traditionally seen in the region as unbreakable bonds, breaking which incurs a huge penalty to oath takers.
Crypto mining is gradually becoming a controversial topic amid economic downfall and scarcity of electricity in Georgia, wherein residents have been staging protests in Mestia. Energy Pro, the town’s electricity provider, has recently threatened citizens it would increase electricity tariffs if the same continues.
Svaneti is a town amid the mountainous region of Georgia which enjoys free electricity in several parts, hence making mining more attractive for the locals.
A similar situation is making headways in different parts of the world where Bitcoin miners have flocked to regions having cheap energy to the chagrin of local residents.
The cases of Kosovo and Kazakhstan governments are the same, where the governments have banned crypto mining for preserving electricity.
The municipality of Mestia has also been issued a statement explaining the extent to which crypto mining has been disrupting the local energy supply, wherein it mentioned that in comparison with previous years, the electricity consumption has grown by 237 per cent in 2020.
Energy Pro has called the excessive increase in consumption as “unsustainable.” On January 5, 2022, the company had shared with the local media that the region was consuming 27 megawatts, which is nearly four times the amount of power its infrastructure was designed to handle.
Kosovo in the southern European region has also recently banned crypto mining owing to a dangerous winter supply drain. The Kosovar government had reportedly seized 300 mining rigs on January 10, thus forcing mining operations to sell their rigs or alternately, shift to nearby countries.
Kazakhstan had been the second most popular country for Bitcoin mining amid low electricity charges, but it effectively pulled the plug on miners as political protests rippled across the country in the first week of 2022. An internet blackout in the country had led to a 13.4 per cent decrease in hash power across the Bitcoin network.