President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus has urged the country to mine cryptocurrencies using unused electricity infrastructure, he also said some abandoned industrial sites could be used to generate revenue through crypto mining.
According to Russian news agency RBC, Lukashenko spoke at the opening of the Petrikovsky mining and processing plant on Aug. 27, urging people to pursue crypto mining in Belarus rather than low-paying farming jobs abroad.
Belarus has enough electricity resources to power cryptocurrency mining, according to the president, who pointed to abandoned industrial sites that may be repurposed to create cash. According to Lukashenko,
“We must understand, they are not waiting for us anywhere […] Build something based on electricity. After all, start mining cryptocurrencies or whatever it’s called. There is enough electricity in the country.”
The Petrikovsky facility is the state-owned Belaruskali’s largest investment project. Belaruskali is one of the world’s leading producers of potash fertilizers, purportedly accounting for 20% of worldwide supply as of 2019.
Belaruskali, the country’s sole potash exporter, was sanctioned by the US government in mid-August, along with other sanctions against President Lukashenko.
Lukashenko’s recent push for crypto mining comes after the Belarusian government has made many attempts to enter the burgeoning cryptocurrency mining business.
The Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Belarus announced in February that it was looking into the risks and benefits of crypto mining in preparation for a possible foray into the industry.
Lukashenko proposed in April 2019 that the country’s first nuclear power plant’s excess electricity be used to mine and sell cryptocurrencies.