Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko urged his fellow citizens to stay in the country and mine crypto. That is preferable, as many people used to go abroad to Poland and Germany in order to get poorly paid jobs in agriculture there.
Is this the start of Belarus turning to crypto?
The comments came during a speech given to employees of Belaruskali, one of the largest state-owned companies in Belarus. This company is responsible for 1/5 of the world’s total supply of potash fertilizers.
Lukashenko is quoted as saying that the countries will not welcome Belarusians with open arms. Instead, people in foreign, more developed countries only care about doing minor jobs that they don’t want to do themselves.
“We have to understand, they are nowhere waiting for us. And when someone is waiting […] Perhaps, as Ukrainians often say, Poles or Germans have to squirm and pick strawberries on the plantations. “
He added that the country has the spare energy capacity to house individuals who are mining crypto on a large scale. He also spoke about the availability of brownfield sites that could house more commercial mining facilities.
“Create something with electricity. In the end, you’ll start mining cryptocurrency, or whatever it’s called. There is enough electricity in the country. “
The country of the former Soviet Union is heavily dependent on Russia’s energy subsidies and cheaper oil and gas prices. Which is cause for thought for potential miners in view of the international sanctions against Russia.
In addition, Lukashenko appears to have skipped the startup costs required to mine cryptocurrencies. Mining crypto isn’t as easy as turning on and starting a computer.
The reality of mining
Proof-of-work mining refers to the process of solving hash puzzles and thereby gaining the right to “complete the block”. Miners are duly rewarded for this in cryptocurrency.
At first glance, it seems easy to make money from electricity. But in reality it can be tedious work, expensive to commission and maintain, and only sporadically rewarding.
Bitcoin mining is so competitive that only well-funded companies that can afford to buy the latest ASIC mining equipment can do it. It also helps to have access to cheap electricity.
Moneymint.com compiles the three most profitable cryptos in 2021 as Ravencoin, Monero and Litecoin.
A home miner needs a correspondingly powerful PC with sufficient power supply and cooling to get started. According to this medium post, the PC must have a corresponding GPU, which must be at least one gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 or Radeon RX Vega 64 for the mining of ETH.
Used GTX 1070s on eBay in the UK cost around £ 350-400 ($ 480-550) which makes up the rest of the PC.
Data on wages in Belarus shows that the minimum wage is around 400 BYN / month ($ 157 / month). Because of this, low-skilled workers would struggle to acquire a suitable PC to mine crypto based on UK prices.
Against this background, Lukashenko’s grand plan to keep the workers in the country seems a bit rash.