Kazakhstan has been plunged into a political and social maelstrom that could rock the world of Bitcoin (BTC) – as unrest over escalating fuel prices saw Kazakhtelecom, the national communications provider, pulled the plug on much of the country’s internet, reminding Bitcoin miners to secure alternative ways to access the internet.
The nation is estimated to be responsible for around a fifth of the global BTC hashrate – and international bitcoiners have rued the fact that a “sovereign internet” appears to be as far off as ever, with internet service providers (ISPs) still playing a key role in the crypto sphere.
Bitcoin hashrate this week:
“Bitcoin miners should design their operations to be unaffected by the extreme measures governments will take to limit the spread of freedom in the form of information. Don’t have single points of failure when it comes to delivering valid hashes to the rest of the network. Find those hashes and then send them via massive ISPs, private ISPs, Satellite, short wave radio, Ham radio, and mesh networks,” Bitcoiner and podcaster Marty Bent stressed.
Blockstream’s Samson Mow, however, also reminded that there were existing tech solutions that could help miners avoid trouble in the event of future power outages.
The Block’s Vice President of Research Larry Cermak posted data he claimed was taken from mining pool APIs – showing that some pools had seen over 80% declines, although others seemed almost unaffected.
Per the media outlet Kosmolskaya Pravda, the hashrate drop was 12% for at least “several hours,” and originated from social unrest following a sharp rise in the prices for liquid gas (LPG). “Riots” broke out in several areas, with protesters seizing control of Almaty’s biggest airport, storming administrative buildings, leaving at least eight dead per some reports and hundreds injured.
The government responded by resigning, with the executive declaring a state of emergency. Leaders have also called on Russia to send military help and Kazakhtelecom cut off all internet service to “some regions,” Kosmolskaya Pravda noted, adding: “By the night of January 5, [hash rate] increased slightly” as internet access returned “in some regions of Kazakhstan.”
The nation’s President, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has called the protestors “terrorists.”
The unrest is likely to continue: Tokayev has addressed the nation, promising to respond to further unrest with “force.” And RIA Novosti reported that protests have continued in a number of areas, with hospitals in Almaty “surrounded” by rioters. Some “200-250” protestors have returned to the central Republic Square as a further day of unrest appears set to escalate.
The President has appealed to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) – a group of Moscow-allied former Soviet states for military assistance, with a number of CSTO members expressing a willingness to intervene.
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