Kosovo has banned Bitcoin mining to save energy, in addition to other emergency measures. Due to production difficulties, the Balkan region is experiencing its most severe energy crisis in a decade, according to Reuters. In December, the Kosovar government implemented a 60-day state of emergency to implement energy cost-saving measures.
The government of Kosovo is now urging law enforcement to target areas where cryptocurrencies are being generated. According to a previous report from Reuters, Kosovars have been mining Bitcoin thanks to low electricity costs.
The Energy Regulatory Office said it has collected data from the four power distribution companies in Kosovo, discovering that citizens have been using their own electricity supply to mine Bitcoins without government permission.
"The Energy Regulatory Office has collected data from the four power distribution companies in Kosovo, which show that citizens have been using their own electricity supply to mine Bitcoins without government permission," said ERO director Behlul Beqaj.
"This is a serious problem and we urge police and prosecutors to intervene."
The government said that "if energy consumption for this destructive activity [Bitcoin mining] continues, the companies that distribute electricity in Kosovo will be obliged to reduce the supply of electricity to households."
Several weeks ago, Serbia temporarily banned cryptocurrency trading on exchanges while the central bank explores the regulatory environment, while Bulgaria has called for a ban on cryptocurrencies under its current laws.
A Kosovo government agency is also seeking to prevent citizens from using power in excess of their quotas. The Energy Regulatory Office said it had requested Kosovo's Distribution System Operator halt supplies to those mining cryptocurrencies, but that several commercial banks are providing financial services to miners.
The agency did not specify which banks.Kosovo joined the Paris agreement on climate change last October, but has faced opposition since then from politicians who argue that it would hurt its coal-based economy. The National Federation of Coal Mining and Energy said it is concerned about the effect of new tariffs on coal producers.