Belarus President Lukashenko urges the government to mine cryptocurrencies.

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Belarus has a large number of abandoned industrial sites that might be used to produce cash through cryptocurrency mining, according to Belarus’ president.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has urged his government to mine bitcoin using surplus electricity infrastructure.

Lukashenko spoke at the opening of the Petrikovsky mining and processing plant on Aug. 27, urging workers to move into crypto mining in Belarus instead of pursuing low-paying farming positions abroad, Russian news agency RBC reported.

The president said that Belarus has enough electricity resources to power cryptocurrency mining, pointing to abandoned industrial sites that could be used to generate revenue. Lukashenko stated:

“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 officially the greatest investment project of state-owned Belaruskali, one of the world’s major potash fertiliser producers, purportedly accounting for 20% of worldwide production as of 2019. Belaruskali, the country’s sole potash exporter, was sanctioned by the US government in mid-August, along with other punitive steps against President Lukashenko.

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Lukashenko’s current demand for crypto mining follows the Belarusian government’s previous efforts to enter the burgeoning crypto mining business. In February, the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Belarus announced that it was researching the dangers and benefits of cryptocurrency mining in preparation for a possible foray into the market. In April 2019, Lukashenko proposed to deploy excess energy from the country’s first nuclear power plant to mine cryptocurrencies and sell them.

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