People blame “evil” cryptos like Bitcoin (BTC) for unrest in Kazakhstan

People blaming Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrency mining for the widespread unrest in Kazakhstan
Popular unrest has erupted in Kazakhstan against the country’s leadership. Credit: Polygraph

Key Takeaways

  • People have come out to blame evil cryptos like Bitcoin (BTC) for the political unrest in Kazakhstan
  • Since the past few days, the Central Asian republic has been caught up in civil turmoil

YEREVAN ( Amid the ongoing political unrest in Kazakhstan that saw the entire country erupt in violence, pundits are out on the hunt for someone to blame.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) have also been facing accusations of fueling the agitation. Although the protests began when the Government lifted its price cap on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), many villains of the situation have been.

Some take the problem back to the erstwhile USSR. Others blame former President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who ruled the country with an iron fist for three decades, and his successor, incumbent Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. 

People have come out to accuse Bitcoin (BTC) mining of causing power shortages in the Central Asian nation. However, being a quasi-dictatorship is not enough reason for citizens to protest, so one needs to blame BTC.

“Crypyocurrency mining literally consumed enough of Kazakhstan’s power that it increased the price leading to multiple deaths from freezing and an uprising against the government. How is this shit not evil,” 

one user asked.

Even before the protests broke out, many cities in Kazakhstan already faced power outages in November last year. Authorities had repeatedly warned of frequent cuts during the bone-chilling winter. 

“The excess consumption growth and high accidents at the country’s power plants during the cold period lead to significant deviations from the average planned electricity consumption, which in turn leads to the risk of a major systemic accident with disruption of the stability of the UPS of Kazakhstan,” 

key electricity supplier in Kazakhstan, KEGOC warned.
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Internet blackout effect Cryptocurrencies & Bitcoin mining

The oil-rich Central Asian Republic has accounted for close to 20% of world Bitcoin (BTC) mining.

Following China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency miners, many companies relocated to Kazakhstan in search of better prospects, making it the world’s second-largest center for Bitcoin (BTC) mining. In addition, electricity in Kazakhstan costs just $0.055 per kWh for businesses. In comparison, businesses in the United States pay $0.12 per kWh.

There, of course, is no denying that the mining industry has placed pressure on Kazakhstan’s energy grid. For the most part, some Kazakh lawmakers called for stricter consumption policies as the country began opening its doors to Bitcoin miners from China.

Following the protests, the Kazakh Government shut down the internet in the country. So naturally, the decision hit the cryptocurrency mining industry.

The 5-day internet blackout resulted in the country’s BTC hash rate dipping by 15%. People involved in Bitcoin mining in Kazakhstan took to social media to confirm the news. 

Didar Bekbau, the Co-founder of Kazakhstan-based mining firm Xive, tweeted: “no internet, so no mining.”

As a result of the civil unrest, the country’s cabinet has since resigned. Dozens of citizens and law enforcement officials have been killed. In addition, 2,500 peacekeeping forces from the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) have arrived in the country’s capital at the request of president Tokayev to help restore order.

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Blame the dictatorship, not Bitcoin 

One person, Nursultan Nazarbayev, had ruled Kazakhstan since its independence from the USSR in 1991. Before that, Nazarbayev had served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan (QKP) and as Kazakhstan’s first president by the Supreme Soviet. 

In 2019, he resigned as president in favor of incumbent Tokayev but retained the Chairman of the Security Council of Kazakhstan until last week. During his tenure, Nazarbayev led the country like a dictator. Before stepping down, he changed the capital city’s name from Astana to Nur-Sultan in his honor.

Many major infrastructural units, including an airport, also carry his name.

The years of misrule and corruption have rendered the citizens of the otherwise rich country desperate and poor. Wanting to establish political change and a brighter future for themselves, Kazakhs want to pull off a revolution, which the Government calls a coup d’etat.

But some people would rather blame “evil” Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrencies for the condition of Kazakhs than the dictatorship.

“Bitcoin mining uses seven times more energy than all of Google, and 0.5% of the world’s total electricity. How is that not “evil”?”  

another user wrote in agreement. 

Since then, many people, some with family ties with Kazakhstan, have spoken in support of Bitcoin.

“The protests were sparked by changes in fuel prices (irrelevant to crypto, the power cryptomining uses would likely be from coal) and dissatisfaction with the government is what’s driven it further,”

 Ashton claimed.

This is the perfect plot to throw mud for those who don’t understand cryptocurrencies or hate Bitcoin (BTC). However, just a few pages of reading could help figure out that years of dictatorship and misrule led to unrest in Kazakhstan. So get over your crypto panic.

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