CRYPT — Fifty Chinese nationals have been arrested after Libyan police raided a data center in Zliten where they were engaged in illegal cryptocurrency mining. Interior Ministry officials said children were helping imprisoned Chinese citizens create virtual currency. This is the latest in a long line of government crackdowns on unlicensed cryptocurrency mining in Libya. The government has issued warnings that such actions are prohibited and will result in severe retaliation. It is believed that this most recent step will serve to deter any future illegal crypto mining operations in the country.
The Tripoli prosecution has just identified an underground crypto-mining operation. The work was done in windowless rooms equipped with a plethora of computers, fans and other machinery. A second crypto-mining farm, run by 10 Chinese nationals, has just been destroyed in Misrata. In Libya, it is against the law to engage in crypto-mining, the lucrative practice of adding transactions to the blockchain. The District Attorney’s Office is making a concerted effort to shut down these businesses and enforce legal compliance.
Libya has emerged as a major center for crypto mining despite the country’s central bank outright banning cryptocurrency transactions. The extremely low cost of electricity and operations, together with deteriorating living standards and the economic crisis, make Libya an attractive option. Libya has all the necessary infrastructure to host Bitcoin mining operations, including powerful servers, a reliable power grid, and fast and reliable internet connection. Bitcoin miners are attracted to the country because of its favorable conditions, including low costs and potentially high profits
Cryptocurrency mining is banned in China, Nepal, Afghanistan, and Morocco due to concerns about pollution and the possibility of funding terrorist groups. The ability of banks in 42 other countries to process crypto transactions and cryptocurrency exchanges amounts to an implicit ban on digital currencies in those countries. Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh and Bolivia are just some of the countries in question. The bans are intended to protect citizens from harm that may come from crypto-mining or crypto-trading. Since the rules are still in the works, just because some nations have outright banned cryptocurrencies doesn’t mean that’s the case everywhere.
A 21-year-old French national has been sentenced to prison and fined by Moroccan authorities for his illicit Bitcoin activity in the country. It is increasingly common for governments to fear that cryptocurrencies are being used to launder money or finance other illegal activities. The environmental impact of crypto mining has caused reluctance to use digital currency in China and India. Governments have yet to decide how to respond to the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies.