LONDON – The global computing power of the bitcoin network has plummeted as this week’s Internet shutdown in Kazakhstan in a deadly uprising hit the country’s rapidly growing cryptocurrency mining industry.
Kazakhstan became the world’s second-largest bitcoin mining center after the United States last year, according to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, after China’s main hub clamped down on crypto mining activity.
Russia sent paratroopers to Kazakhstan on Thursday to help quell the uprising across the country after violence spread in the tightly controlled former Soviet state. Police said they killed dozens of rioters in the main town of Almaty, while state television said 13 members of the security forces were dead.
The internet was shut down across the country on Wednesday in what monitoring site Netblocks called a “nationwide internet outage.”
The move would likely have prevented Kazakhstan-based miners from accessing the bitcoin network.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are created or ‘mined’ by powerful computers, usually in data centers located in different parts of the world, which compete to solve complex mathematical puzzles in a very power-intensive process.