Cryptocurrency fears as brutal Kazakhstan crackdown triggers global Bitcoin crash

Kazakhstan chaos: Nationwide blackout sparks global Bitcoin crash

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Protests in Kazakhstan have prompted a brutal crackdown from Russian-backed President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Authorities claimed that protesters had beheaded two police officers, as President Tokayev issued a shoot to kill order against violent demonstrators on Friday. This ongoing chaos has prompted a dramatic collapse in global Bitcoin price, with Kazakhstan home to almost a fifth of the world’s Bitcoin miners.

President Tokayev reportedly ordered telecom providers to block internet access on 6 January, throwing the cryptocurrency mining operation in chaos.

The internet blackout in Kazakhstan, the second-largest bitcoin mining nation in the world, has slashed the amount of computing power dedicated to the cryptocurrency.

On Thursday, Bitcoin prices fell below $42,000, marking its lowest point since September 2020.

Larry Cermak, vice president of research at cryptocurrency site The Block, said that Bitcoin’s hashrate – the amount of computing power for mining – had fallen by 12 percent after Kazakhstan’s blackout.

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Huge numbers of mining groups relocated to the former Soviet state after a crackdown in China last year.

This comes as President Tokayev blamed foreign-trained “terrorist” gangs for the anti-government protests.

In a televised address on Friday, President Tokayev said he had personally given the order to use lethal force without warning against protesters.

He said up to 20,000 “bandits” had attacked the financial capital Almaty and were destroying state property.

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President Tokayev bluntly warned: “Those who don’t surrender will be eliminated.”

Around 2,500 troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation – an alliance of Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan – have been deployed in a “peacekeeping” mission.

On Friday, the interior ministry has said 26 protesters were killed in the clashes over the past week, and 18 people from police and security forces.


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Overnight, a police spokeswoman said that “dozens of attackers were liquidated” in Almaty.

More than 3,800 people had been detained, according to the ministry.

The protests erupted in the oil-producing western province of Mangistau on Sunday after a cap on petroleum gas – which many people use to power their cars – was lifted.

The country’s leaders U-turned on the hike but the unrest only intensified, leading to the worst violence seen in the former Soviet republic in 30 years of independence.

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