Uzbekistan – which legalised cryptocurrency trading in 2018 – said it would allow crypto-mining using solar power to conserve energy and reduce the sector’s controversial carbon footprint.
The Central Asian state would also exempt all crypto operations by domestic and foreign companies from income tax, according to a presidential decree published this week.
The Tashkent government wants crypto-mining entities to power their farms by installing their own solar panels.
Crypto-mining companies can be connected to the power grid if they pay double the regular price. However, during peak consumption periods, extra surcharges can be levied, according to the decree.
No licence is required for crypto-mining but the company must be registered by a newly formed Uzbek National Agency for Perspective Projects, the document said.
Some cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, are created by a process called proof of work which requires computers to “mine” the currency by solving complex puzzles. Powering those computers involves large amounts of electricity.
The central Asian nation has also launched a series of renewable energy projects, mostly solar and wind power plants.
Neighbouring Kazakhstan, which became the world’s second-largest centre for crypto-mining after the US last year, has cracked down on mining after such operations strained its power grid dominated by ageing coal power plants.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell