Several hundred crypto-mining machines seized in latest Kosovo crackdown
More than 200 hardware crypto-mining devices have been seized by police in the predominantly Serbian northern area of Kosovo. This is in light of the current cryptocurrency raids that began last Thursday in response to authorities in Pristina banning the use of high powered digital currency during the country’s current energy crisis.
Kosovo authorities seize more than 300 devices used for cryptocurrency mining amid the country’s energy woes
Kosovo law enforcement is in the process of stopping the use of crypto mining devices in the country during its power shortage. At present, only one person has been placed under arrest in the northern part of Kosovo, which is largely of Serbian nationality.
Kosovo Police released a statement revealing that they have currently seized up to 272 devices used in crypto mining at Leposavic. Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla was quoted as follows: “All the action went and ended without incident.
This statement was followed by Finance Minister Hekuran Murati on Facebook, who explained in detail that the current estimated consumption of mining equipment on a monthly basis is equivalent to the power consumed by 500 households. Murati said the sum extracted was worth between 60,000 and 120,000 euros, saying the government would “not allow the illegal enrichment of some at the expense of taxpayers.”
Currently, authorities in Kosovo have confiscated 342 crypto mining rigs since the raids began last week. Government officials in Pristina halted all cryptocurrency mining operations last Tuesday due to the effect on energy consumption during the winter season.
Tensions have mounted between the ethnic Serbs, who hold the majority in the four municipalities in northern Kosovo, and the ethnic Albanians who hold the majority of the central Kosovo government. The Bitcoin.com website points out that the Serbs do not accept Pristina’s authority over them, refusing to pay for electricity for two decades, starting with the Kosovo war in 1998.
The Pristina utility continues to help cover unpaid bills by the Serbian community, using its current income to cover the lack of payment. Local Kosovo media have estimated the annual cost covered by the government to be over 12 million euros per year. Kosovo’s current energy problems, affected by rising import prices and insufficient local production, have forced authorities to take a stand against cryptocurrency mining. Reports also said that the authorities had launched two raids in mainly ethnic Albanian sections, confiscating up to 70 aircraft.
The current ban on crypto mining was initially addressed by Economy Minister Artane Rizvanolli, realizing that emergency measures should be put in place after discussions with the country’s specific parliamentary committee. There are doubts from critics, questioning the legal structure of the measures, as digital currency minting is not currently prohibited by law at the moment. Currently, there is a cryptocurrency regulation bill, submitted last October to the ruling parliament, which has not been initiated.