The central-Asian country’s recent crackdown on miners has come at the cost of substantial energy fee revenue for the state.
The government of Kazakhstan reeled in 652 million Kazakhstani tenge ($1.5 million) in revenue from Bitcoin Miners in Q1 2022. This figure ran significantly below expectations, largely due to the government shutdown of mining firms across the country starting late last year.
Mining in Kazakhstan
According to a report from Kazakhstan’s State Revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance on Monday, Bitcoin mining fees poured in from across 12 areas of the country. However, the major payers of those fees included just three companies: AISolutions, Agro Energy, and BCD Company.
In Kazakhstan, Bitcoin miners are required to pay energy fees to the state as part of legislation introduced on January 1st of 2022. On the 20th day of the last month of each quarter, miners must pay exactly 1 tenge ($0.0024) for every kilowatt-hour of electrical energy spent. As the committee reminds readers, an increase to this rate is currently being debated in parliament.
The report notes, however, that the expected fees for Q1 were “not received by the budget,” as most mining businesses have been getting “disconnected from electricity” for over half a year now. The disconnections have reportedly been executed in the name of “energy security”, since mining appears to have strained the country’s electricity grid in the past, and may have possibly contributed to blackouts.
Though mining still consumes a tiny fraction of total global energy, a greatly outsized portion of the industry is located in Kazakhstan. The central-Asian country is home to under 19 million people, yet it accounts for 13.22% of the global hash rate according to recent figures – making it the third-largest Bitcoin mining hub.
As of March, the state had shut down 106 mining farms in the region. It is now considering an additional mining tax based on Bitcoin’s price so that the country’s budget will indirectly benefit from the asset’s price appreciation.
Miners VS Electrical Grids
Iran – another country hosting an outsized proportion of hash rate – is also cracking down on unlicensed mining operations within its borders. The country has faced similar blackout issues in the past and has responded with a seasonal mining strategy to ensure that miners don’t stress the grid when it is under peak demand.
Texas, on the other hand, has taken the counter-intuitive approach of inviting more miners to the state as a response to blackouts. Governor Greg Abbott believes that the mining industry will incentivize the development of more power generation facilities in the region, which can help stabilize its currently weak grid.