Russian media has conducted interviews with several representatives of the country’s bitcoin mining industry. The investigation has provided unique insights into an expansive industry that penetrates all levels of Russian society, ranging “from schoolchildren to pensioners”.
Dramatic GPU Shortages Earlier This Year Signify a Sharp Increase in Russian Crypto Mining Activities During 2017
2017’s cryptocurrency boom sparked widespread graphics card shortages globally, with the most extreme shortages being witnessed in low-wage nations such as Russia – where cryptocurrency mining can offer returns that rival many mainstream careers. Following a dramatic increase in mining activities from both the public and private sector, RT, an international news organization funded by the Russian state, has conducted interviews with several miners, seeking to gain insights into Russia’s bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining industry.
RT spoke with a Siberian miner, Ilya, who describes a rising popularity of bitcoin mining that penetrates all demographics in Russian society. Ilya states that “pensioners come to their grandchildren, and give them gadgets for mining as presents. They hold competitions among their grandchildren who will earn most bitcoins! Essentially, pensioners get their grandkids hooked on mining!”
Cryptocurrency Is Turning Russian Teenagers Into Businessmen
RT met with Dmitry, a 15-year-old schoolboy who has started to mine for bitcoin. Dimitry states that “mining technologies are very promising. An increasing number of people get involved in this, get new skills and improving old practices.” Despite growth in the sector, the student concedes that he has encountered skepticism regarding his activities, including from his parents. “Although I have vividly described to them the mining process and the opportunities of mining, they feel suspicious about it. That’s why I have to do this alone.”
Speaking at the recent “Digital Economy: Generation Z” quiz in Moscow, 16-year-old Yaroslav claimed to have made paper gains of over 12,000% this year through cryptocurrency investments. Yaraslov stated that he “invested 1,000 rubles ($17 USD) in February. Seven months have passed, and now I have 127,000 ($2,200 USD) in cryptocurrency equivalent.”
The Average Monthly Russian Wage Is Approximately 3,800 Rubles ($66.05 USD)
Many Russians have turned to bitcoin mining as a response to prevailing economic hardship. One Siberian miner, Domashko, began mining in order to attain subsistence, stating that “the terrible crisis did not let me live”, and that “even drug and arms trafficking don’t [yeild the] profitability” of mining. Domashko believes that bitcoin is set to achieve widespread mainstream adoption, stating that “[bitcoin] will take the place comparable to the mass capitalization of the dollar and the euro… If it wasn’t worth it, [Russian President] Vladimir Putin wouldn’t talk about it, laws wouldn’t be adopted at the state level by such countries as Japan and Russia.”
Russia’s finance ministry recently announced that it is currently working on a draft bill for the legalization and regulation of cryptocurrencies. Finance minister Anton Siluano stated that “there is no point in prohibiting [cryptocurrencies], it is necessary to regulate them”, confirming that Russia will not seek to prohibit cryptocurrencies. Russia has also recently advanced its plans to foster a globally dominant mining sector, inviting bitcoin miners to create an industrial park for cryptocurrency mining in the Leningrad region. The announcement comes just weeks after The Institute for Internet Development and the Russian Association of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency unveiled plans for the development of a project designed to subsidize the electricity for large-scale cryptocurrency miners.