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Russian Energy Firms Prepare to ‘Hunt’ Private Crypto Miners

Russian energy firms are gearing up to crack down on private crypto miners who are mining cryptoassets at home, according to a report published on May 12. The media outlet Izvestia reported that the Russian Government Expert Council is set to propose new measures related to mining to the Cabinet.

Lawmakers are looking to include these proposed measures in a new set of crypto laws that also aim to legalize industrial crypto mining while banning most domestic exchanges. The council is expected to submit written proposals, which have already been seen by reporters, to the Cabinet on May 16.

The proposals suggest using electricity meter technology to identify suspected miners by comparing declared readings with actual electricity usage using remote checking solutions. Power companies will be able to fine “illegal” miners and charge home-based offenders higher rates typically reserved for industrial enterprises.

Dmitry Tortev of the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia mentioned that this move would empower power providers to take action without going through the legal system, making the fight against illegal crypto mining more efficient. Currently, crypto mining is a popular activity in Russia, but it lacks legal status, making it neither legal nor illegal.

Private mining is also not illegal, and power firms can only intervene if they suspect individuals of stealing power from local grids. With the proposed measures, energy companies will gain more authority to crack down on unauthorized mining activities. The crypto mining landscape in Russia is set to undergo significant changes with the implementation of these new regulations. Providers are raising concerns about the Russian energy system being overloaded in various areas, leading to interruptions in electricity supply to consumers. The increase in electrical energy consumption, particularly from mining loads, has resulted in local deficits in regions like Siberia. Crypto mining hotspots such as Irkutsk have reported shortages due to the high demand for energy and cold winters. The Deputy Minister of Energy has suggested increasing energy tariffs for miners to encourage them to move away from energy-deficient areas. Proposals have been made to reduce strain on networks, including shutting off rigs for certain periods. Industrial miners are eager for Moscow to legalize their sector, despite potential tax implications. The head of the Industrial Mining Association welcomes measures to create favorable conditions for industrial mining in Russia, aiming to bring legitimacy to the sector.

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