In a move that seeks to reduce the risks associated with the massive energy requirements of Bitcoin mining, the government of South Korea has announced more stringent measures against the importation of foreign mining chips. South Korea has been on the frontline of formulating cryptocurrency regulations while most governments have taken a hands-off approach and this latest directive is just one of the many.
Bitcoin Mining A Rising Concern
Bitcoin mining is increasingly becoming a concern for many governments and local authorities all across the world, especially because of its high energy requirements. In mid-March, the small town of Plattsburgh in upstate New York put an 18-month suspension of all mining activities in their town citing the massive energy requirements as one of the key reasons. Any resident who defied the directive would be subjected to a $1,000 fine for every day he violated the suspension.
Such is the concern that many have with Bitcoin mining.
The Korean Customs Service (KCS) which is in charge of all matters import and export said that mining chips have been added to a list of items that are closely checked for certifications such as safety and sanitation. The move has been necessitated by the alarmingly rising number of mining chips that are imported into the country, the KCS disclosed.
According to a report on one of the local outlets, in the last two months of last year, South Koreans imported 454 mining chips. These were worth $1.2 million and they are a clear indication that South Korean miners mean business. With the increase in mining activities, not only does energy consumption spike but so does the risk of fire outbreaks.
The South Korean government has been doing its best to control crypto mining. Two weeks ago, fourteen miners were arrested for illegally using cheap electricity at industrial plants to mine cryptos. The mining was taking place in South Korea’s southwestern town of Gwangju and involved four different industrial plants. The police were alerted to this illegal use and acted straight away, but the mining operations had been taking place for a whole year.
In yet another incident, a Seoul-based mall, Yongsam Market, warned its merchant shops against mining cryptos in their premises. Such activities were driving the cost of electricity through the roof and also posed other dangers such as the risk of fire. The cryptos that were being mined the most were bitcoin and ether.
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