Source: AdobeStock / phonlamaiphoto
Russian bitcoin (BTC) miners reportedly used a whopping 1.25 gigawatts (GW) of electrical power to fuel their activities in 2021, almost double their total for 2020 – as the industry continues to expand in the nation.
Per Novie Izvetiya, Intelion Data Systems experts calculated that altcoin mining efforts last year may have used up to 0.625GW worth of electricity.
The experts added that the annual increase in electricity consumption for crypto mining in Russia has trended upwards relentlessly since 2017 – and has increased by at least 150% per year.
In 2020, Russia-based BTC miners used 0.728GW to power their mining efforts.
Large-scale industrial crypto miners account for between 40% and 45% of Russia’s total BTC mining activity, and experts argue that this figure will likely grow quickly in the future.
Oil producers like the majority state-owned Gazprom Neft are already expanding pilots that allow miners to power their rigs using associated gas at oil drilling sites. A plant in the Khanty-Mansi region has been modified to run hundreds of mining rigs in parallel to oil pumps, while the head of a major Russian gas industry group has talked of crypto mining as a “way to monetize cheap electricity where there is a surplus, or where the cost of electricity production is higher than market prices.”
Big industrial players have urged Moscow to legalize their industry, even if doing so would land them tax bills and higher electricity tariffs. And the Ministry of Finance is exceptionally keen to do so – believing the additional tax revenue could provide a much-needed boost to Treasury coffers. The ministry will be hopeful of pushing through the required legislation when lawmakers return to the State Duma for a new session at the end of this month.
Timofey Semyonov, Intellon’s General Director, was quoted as stating that a “growing interest in energy-intensive blockchain computing – against the backdrop of a significant surplus of energy resources in a number of Russian regions” was “undoubtedly” providing “new opportunities.”
Semyonov claimed that not only were miners set to benefit from the industry’s development but that “a significant number of related industries” also stood to benefit.
Per the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School’s calculations, Russia accounted for 4.66% of the average global monthly BTC hashrate in January this year – although some argue that Russia’s mining capacity may have grown rapidly in recent months as a result of China’s September 2021 crackdown on mining.