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Abkhazia Police Seize 396 Crypto Mining Rigs in 48 Hours as Electricity Woes Continue

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read
Source: natanaelginting/Adobe

Police in Abkhazia have confiscated 396 crypto mining rigs in the space of just 48 hours – as the de facto state continues its battle against illegal miners. The government has blamed illegal miners for crippling power shortages and rolling blackouts that have left thousands without electricity.

The state’s political status is contentious. Many nations recognize it as part of Georgia, but others – including its closest ally Russia – have recognized it as a sovereign nation.

The area’s climate and low power costs have made it a haven for crypto miners. But in recent years, many miners are thought to have established illegal connections to the grid – allowing them to power their hardware for free. This has caused the grid to falter, causing outages that last for up to five hours at a time.

Even additional cross-border power supplies from Russia have not helped matters – as new overhead lines have quickly become “overloaded.”

The police have hit back with a crackdown on crypto miners. And, EA Daily reported, this has borne fruit in recent days. The media outlet reported that a series of raids were carried out by the State Security Service of Abkhazia on February 5 and 6.

Abkhazia: Three Seperate Raids See Officers Seize 396 Crypto Mining Rigs

The first raid took place at the Palace of Culture in Sukhumi. Formerly the MVO Military Sanatorium, this crumbling piece of Soviet-era architecture is home to a number of disused buildings – one of which had been repurposed as a crypto mining farm. Officers seized 25 rigs from this site.

A map of Abkhazia. The region of Sukhumi is shaded red. (Source: TUBS/CC BY-SA 3.0)

On the same day, officers raided a concrete-producing center and a parking lot used for car sales in the Gudauta region, where they found a total of 50 devices illegally connected to the grid.

And on February 6, officers in the Ochamchira region teamed up with agents from the Ministry of Internal Affairs for a larger operation. The officers raided a “private household” in the village of Achguara, where they seized 115 devices.

The rigs, the officers said, had used 250 kWh worth of electricity consumption from the public grid.