Electricity use spikes in Irkutsk as more Russians begin mining cryptocurrency


TL;DR Breakdown

  • A rapid increase in electricity usage has been reported in the Russian province of Irkutsk.
  • According to law enforcement, the theft of mining equipment has increased in the area.

A rapid increase in electricity usage has been reported in the Russian province of Irkutsk, one of Siberia’s largest cities. It is not the first time the region has received attention for crypto mining’s energy usage. Due to illegal crypto mining, electricity consumption in Russia’s Irkutsk area quadrupled in 2021.

Electricity use surges in Irkutsk

As previously reported by Cryptopolitan, the Russian market is presently suffering from a shortage of mining equipment to its lowest point in 14 months. That has changed in recent days as planes with mining equipment continue to park at Irkutsk. In the first half of January, seven Boeing-737s arrived from China, each loaded with coin minting equipment.

As mining grows in Russia, so has the number of hardware theft cases. Over the last year, electricity usage by residents of Irkutsk has increased. The firms are pointing to amateur cryptocurrency miners for the increase.

According to the Director for Development at Irkutsk Electric Grid Company, Evgeny Vechkanov, high crypto prices and China’s crypto ban are the primary causes of the electricity spike. 

According to Oleg Prichko, CEO of the Baikal Energy Company, the power surge is largely attributable to “grey” mining

According to a recent report, many Irkutsk residents have established mining farms in their homes. Following that, the amount of strain on the power grid increases, resulting in frequent outages and blackouts.

Theft of mining equipment on the rise

The number of instances involving the theft of mining equipment has been on the rise amid the cryptocurrency mining rush. In 2021, there were 344 occurrences of this crime in the region. Losses exceeded $2.1 million as a result of these events. Fifty-four incidents have been resolved, with 66 persons being charged.

According to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, Russia is third in mining capacity. Its share in the global bitcoin hashrate reached 11% as of August 2021. The Chinese government’s ban on the crypto industry, including trading and mining, has made Russia grow as a new territory for mining cryptocurrencies. 

Finally, mining is a lucrative business in Russia. However, its legal standing has yet to be determined.

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Florence Muchai

Florence is a crypto enthusiast and writer who loves to travel. As a digital nomad, she explores the transformative power of blockchain technology. Her writing reflects the limitless possibilities for humanity to connect and grow.

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