Kosovo Police confiscate over 300 crypto mining rigs amid energy crisis

on Jan 10, 2022
  • Kosovo Police teamed up with different agencies to raid locations suspected of mining crypto.
  • The biggest bust saw Kosovo Police and Kosovo Customs confiscate 272 AntMiner rigs.
  • Kosovo’s economy minister believes these raids will save taxpayers tens of thousands of euros.

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The Kosovo Police force has seized more than 300 crypto mining rigs days after announcing a crackdown. A report unveiled this news earlier today, citing three separate announcements by the law enforcement entity. The first announcement came on January 6, and the other two on January 8. The first raid saw police officers confiscate 67 rigs.

Reportedly, Investigators of the Regional Investigation Sector within the Regional Directorate in South Mitrovica carried out the first raid after suspecting illegal activity in the region. After the seizure, the police officers were able to identify the person operating the machines.

The police notified the prosecutor of the case, who suggested that customs authorities probe the matter and the equipment further. Upon further investigation, Kosovo Customs and Kosovo Police managed to confiscate another 272 pieces of crypto mining equipment in the municipality of Leposavic on January 8.

Specifically, the authorities seized 128 AntMiner S9i 14.0T miners, 117 AntMiner S9 13.5T miners, five AntMiner S9 13.0T devices, 19 AntMiner S9i 14.5T rigs, and three AntMiner S9 10.5T machines. The police arrested one person during this raid.

The third bust came later on January 8, where units from the Police Station north of Prishtina assisted Kosovo’s electricity distributor, Kompania Kosovare për Distribuim me Energji Elektrike (KEDS), to seize an additional 39 miners. According to the announcement, 35 rigs were functional at the time of the raid.

A 60-day state of emergency

This news comes after the largest coal-fired power plant in Kosovo shut down in December due to a technical issue. As a result, the country had to import around 40% of its consumed electricity from Serbia. However, Serbia’s electricity production plunged by 33% due to low temperatures and heavy snows, resulting in higher prices.

To make do with the available resources, the government announced a 60-day state of emergency to deal with the country’s energy crisis in December. The government also introduced a blanket ban on Bitcoin (BTC/USD) and crypto mining in the past week.

According to the government, the state of emergency allowed it to impose power cuts and reallocate funds for imports. While BTC is yet to address ESG concerns, critics bashed the government’s decision to ban its mining.

On the other hand, Kosovo’s Economy minister, Artane Rizvanolli, lauded the police force for confiscating the crypto mining rigs. She pointed out that the raid would help save tens of thousands of euros of taxpayers’ money. Rizvanolli added that seizing the crypto mining rigs would ensure hundreds of Kosovar families get electricity during the ongoing crisis.