The president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, has urged his government to use the country’s deserted industrial sites to mine cryptocurrencies rather than moving overseas to pursue low-paying farming jobs, Cointelegraph reported, citing Russian media.
Lukashenko said his country has enough energy resources to power the electricity-intensive activity that China has famously banned in June.
The 66-year-old authoritarian leader pointed to the already existing locations that Belarusians could use to mine digital assets during the opening of the Petrikovsky mining and processing plant on August 27.
“We must understand, they are not waiting for us anywhere […] Build something based on electricity,” he told Russian media RBC. “After all, start mining cryptocurrencies or whatever it’s called. There is enough electricity in the country.”
Lukashenko’s prompt comes as cryptocurrency mining has drawn global criticism for its negative environmental impact.
Earlier this year, bitcoin mining’s energy consumption have hounded the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency, causing it to shed nearly half of its value from its April all-time high.
Shortly after China’s clampdown, various industry experts have said the Asian superpower’s ban on mining has been one of the most impactful moves on the bitcoin network. Miners located in China, as a result, scrambled to relocate their operations to other countries.
But Lukashenko, who became president in 1994, has been favoring cryptocurrency mining for a while. In April 2019, the strongman proposed to use excess energy from one of his country’s nuclear power plants to mine cryptocurrencies, as Cointelegraph reported.
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