Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Belarus, wants the country’s spare electrical power to go towards federal bitcoin mining.
According to RBC Daily, President Lukashenko revealed his idea at the opening of the Petrikovsky mining and processing plant. He wants the nation to construct more greenhouses and find active uses of electricity. One of the uses he mentioned is cryptocurrency mining. “We have a lot of sites here in Petrik, create something on electricity, in the end, start mining the cryptocurrency.”
The Petrikovsky plant is one of the biggest investment projects from state-backed Belaruskali. The company is one of the world’s biggest exporters of potash fertilizers
The President also said Belarus has sufficient energy resources to power a national crypto mining industry much as China did. Lukashenko added “we must understand, they are not waiting for us anywhere.” The President hopes for increased in-country mining rather than a crypto firm exodus.
The 66-year-old President, who has been in power since 1994, has shown support of cryptocurrency mining in the past. Lukashenko also mentioned bitcoin mining back in 2019. In that instance he referred excess nuclear energy for bitcoin mining. “Wait for u to bring in the nuclear plant and use the excess energy. We will leave space to build mining farms. And we will mine these bitcoins and we will be selling them.” The comments were met with laughter from the crowd but the President clearly maintains his view on mining cryptocurrencies.
In Belarus, cryptocurrencies have been legal since the Decree on the Digital Economy passed in 2017. Additionally, the industry is currently exempt from taxation and allows citizens to trade crypto for fiat without the need for tax declaration.
Crypto Mining and Environmental Concerns
The statements by President Lukashenko come during a time of great change in the cryptocurrency mining world. Previously China held the highest numbers in terms of crypto mining. However recent reports suggest more than 75%, the nation has essentially banned cryptocurrency mining due to the massive energy consumption it requires. This has sent shockwaves through the industry as many scrambles to find new homes for their operations.
It would seem, that unlike other places such as Kazakhstan and the United States, Belarus would prefer to create its own mining industry instead of becoming a new hub for foreign miners to set up shop.