The hashrate of major bitcoin mining pools neared recovery on Monday, days after computing power on the network fell following an internet blackout in Kazakhstan, data from BTC.com shows.
Between Jan. 5 and 6, the hashrate of top mining pools fell by 11% as Kazakhstan’s internet went dark. Today, the loss had narrowed to around 2.2%, according to data from mining pool BTC.com analyzed by CoinDesk.Kazakhstan is the world’s second-largest bitcoin miner. It accounts for about one-fifth of the global total and is surpassed only by the U.S. The country has been rocked by civil unrest in the past week, set off by a spike in energy prices. The protests left 164 people dead and nearly 8,000 detained. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called the protests an act of “terrorist aggression.”The situation is “almost resolved” and crypto mining data centers are back, Alan Dordjiev, head of the Kazakh National Association of Blockchain and Data Center Industry, told CoinDesk on Monday.Internet connectivity is largely restored throughout the country, Dordjiev said. Interruptions are still taking place in Almaty, the country’s largest city and former capital, where protests raged over the last week, but crypto mining regions are “totally fine,” he said.Internet watchdog NetBlocks said last week that the fact that multiple providers lost connectivity simultaneously “indicates a centralized kill-switch.”It’s hard to know how long the internet will continue to operate. The country’s internet has been restored several times over the past few days, but these moments are “brief and unpredictable, affecting different providers and regions at different times,” NetBlocks founder Alp Toker told CoinDesk. Beyond implications for human rights, the intermittent network “can’t reliably support cryptocurrency mining,” Toker said.Kazakhstan-based miners have been facing electricity restrictions since September as the country’s national grid struggled to keep up with increased demand. Some miners have been looking overseas to expand their capacity.
CORRECTION (Jan. 11, 6:13 UTC): Corrects spelling of Alan Dordjiev’s name in third and fourth bullets, and clarifies energy us vs. electricity use in second bullet.