In September 2021, when China banned all cryptocurrency-related activity, it reshaped an industry for which it had provided a haven. Miners scrambled into crypto-friendly Kazakhstan, propelling the country into world’s second-biggest Bitcoin production base, by one estimate.
But six months later, the industry is already being pushed out. Facing civil unrest and blackouts on the electricity grid, the government has throttled the power supply of the miners it once welcomed. As it buckles under infighting and government pressure, Kazakhstan’s significant mining base is preparing to move on, industry players and experts say. Smaller players can either flee somewhere like Russia — a risky jurisdiction, whose hostile politics would imply another temporary home — or, for bigger outfits, swallow higher costs to join the swelling ranks in the U.S., where the mining industry is clearly beginning to concentrate.