Miners of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies who carry out their activities on the territory of the Russian Federation will have to pay a higher tariff for the electricity they consume. This was determined by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), a government agency charged with overseeing the prices of electricity used by the Russians.
Separate private consumption of electricity from those who use it for profit
The regulator will implement new guidelines for calculating electricity tariffs for the population and will apply a higher amount for those who consume more than they consider normal, as reported by local digital media.
The measure should separate household consumers of electricity from those who use electricity for profit.
A local politician said low electricity tariffs are a problem due to the spread of digital mining in the country. He believes that the "abnormal" consumption creates an overload on power grids that were not designed for such capacities.
"The problem is particularly relevant in several regions where electricity is historically cheaper for the population," said Pavel Sklyanchuk of the Russian People's Front "Housing and Urban Environment".
Therefore, the FAS is calculating how many kilowatts per hour a resident of an apartment or house that has air conditioners, irons, televisions, and other appliances can consume. This is intended to differentiate them from those that consume energy for commercial purposes.
"A social consumption rate"
Anything that goes beyond the norm will have to be paid for at a higher rate, and Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency miners are one such element that will have to pay higher rates.
Antitrust officials have ordered that each region independently set limits for both domestic and commercial electricity consumption. This will take into account the characteristics and needs of each location.
The move comes nearly a month after the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation sent proposals to the Ministry of Finance on the regulation and mining of cryptocurrencies.
The proposal focuses on defining a threshold for the use of electricity for "domestic" miners with the idea of establishing "a social consumption rate for them", according to a report by local media.
Furthermore, it has been proposed to connect mining companies to energy sources with lower tariffs, which would be possible by moving digital mining to regions that have a stable electricity surplus.
Russia took second place in the ranking of European countries with the cheapest electricity for the population. The leader is Kazakhstan. As a result, both countries now concentrate more mining or hashrate power of the Bitcoin network than in previous years, as more digital miners are located in their territories.
A bill to regulate Bitcoin is in the works in Russia
As previously reported, the creation of a legal framework for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in Russia appears to have remained among the government's priorities in the midst of the war waged against Ukraine.
A bill "On mines in the Russian Federation" was presented to the Duma on Friday 29 April. The bill aims to take the cryptocurrency industry out of the "gray" zone, as the country is rich in energy resources and favorable climatic conditions for mining.
The bill provides for the creation of a special registry of cryptocurrency miners, which will be maintained by an authorized federal agency.
If the law is passed, individuals engaged inbitcoin mining and other cryptocurrencies will be able to register as entrepreneurs or self-employed if their electricity consumption exceeds certain limits set by the government.
Only legal entities and registered individuals will be allowed to mine cryptocurrencies, this media reported, based on the document's provisions.
If Duma deputies pass the law, a grace period will be announced for Bitcoin miners to adapt to the new legal framework. During this time, they will be able to resolve all pending details such as importing new equipment, paying taxes, and complying with other regulations in force.