Videos Show Disputed Georgian Territory Waging War on Illegal Bitcoin Mines

Abkhazia's Internal Ministry of Affairs is conducting constant raids and destroying hoards of hidden mining rigs.
July 27, 2021, 5:20pm
Videos Show Disputed Georgian Territory Waging War on Illegal Bitcoin Mines
Image: Internal Abkhazia Ministry of Affairs

Abkhazia, the tiny, disputed Georgian territory along the Black Sea has been conducting near-daily raids of illegal Bitcoin mining farms that are straining its electrical grid.

Back in March, the territory’s Internal Ministry of Affairs announced on Youtube that it was cracking down on these operations, which have exploded thanks to the impoverished area’s cheap power rates. In March, Abkhazia shared two videos claiming it had found one "large cryptocurrency mining facility" in a village, a few others connected illegally to the power grid, and in total raided eight farms over the past few weeks.

Since then, the raids have become daily and the Ministry has continued to post videos featuring neverending rows of mining rigs with loud fans struggling to cool the machines in whatever room they’ve been hidden away in. This past month, however, authorities claim they’ve uncovered even larger operations. One video claims they “dismantled and placed 1296 mining devices for safekeeping,” while another found mining farms inside an abandoned poultry factory that had been sealed off.

The  operations have even begun to include Russian officials who helped find those 1296 devices, but the territory is also taking notes from operations abroad such as the daily raids carried out by Armenia to identify mining farms hidden across the country. Abkhazia has shared a few videos positively featuring Armenia’s daily raids and destruction of mining rigs.

Armenia and Abkhazia are not the only places to crack down on bitcoin over power concerns. China has been seizing and auctioning off illegal mining rigs after putting miners in jail. Last week, Malaysian police destroyed over 1,000 rigs and an estimated $1.25 million worth of bitcoin. Assistant Commissioner of Police Hakemal Hawari told CNBC that the crackdown came because miners had allegedly stolen $2 million worth of energy from the power grid.