Authorities in Abkhazia, the partially recognized South Caucasus republic, have discovered and closed down eight crypto mining farms in just two weeks. Since the beginning of June, law enforcement agents have disconnected more than 300 mining devices from the grid and fined an operator.
Over 300 Mining Rigs Cut Off From Electricity Supply in Abkhazia
Between June 1 and June 14, police in Abkhazia have found eight facilities for cryptocurrency mining that have been operating in breach of the country’s ban on digital coin minting. Law enforcement agents have disconnected almost 350 units of mining hardware from the electricity grid.
The raids have been conducted by the Ministry of Interior and local police officials in several regions of the South Caucasian republic. Three of the illegal mining farms have been located in the capital city, Sukhumi, where law enforcement agents have shut down 17 mining rigs and imposed administrative penalties on their owners.
Another three facilities were discovered in Gudauta District, where police officers pulled the plug on 128 mining devices. The crypto miners have been sealed, the ministry announced in a press release published to its website this week.
Largest Crypto Mining Farm Discovered in Gali Region
The largest cryptocurrency farm was located in Gali District. The facility had 184 mining rigs running. Representatives of the local power distribution company estimated they have consumed 170 kilowatts of electricity and imposed a fine of 408,000 Russian rubles (around $5,660) on the operator. The mining farm has been cut off from the grid.
During inspections carried out in Gagra District, Abkhaz authorities discovered another 17 coin minting devices which have burned an estimated 28.5 kilowatts of electrical energy. Those rigs have been shut down and sealed as well.
The Ministry of Interior of Georgia’s breakaway republic conducts daily checks to identify facilities mining cryptocurrencies in disregard of the region’s latest regulations. Earlier this year, the government in Sukhumi extended a temporary ban on cryptocurrency mining until March 31, 2022. Hefty fines and criminal liability were also introduced for illegal use of electrical power to mint digital currencies.
The restrictions were initially enacted in late 2018, when a spike in mining activity left the Russia-backed de facto state facing an energy crisis. In early 2019, Abkhazia’s Chernomorenergo utility shut down 15 mining farms with a total power capacity of 8,950 kilowatts, claiming that would be a temporary measure.
Besides ongoing searches for new crypto farms in operation, the Interior Ministry of the partially recognized republic is also regularly checking previously shut down mining farms. This month, police officers have visited 89 such facilities.
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