Around 50 Chinese nationals have reportedly been apprehended by Libyan authorities following allegations of running a cryptocurrency mining facility within the city of Zliten, local reports detail. Cryptocurrency mining is strictly prohibited by law in Libya. Libyan law enforcement officials have disclosed that the mining operation, situated in an abandoned iron factory, was effectively dismantled.
Illegal Cryptocurrency Mining Operation Busted in Libya, 50 Chinese Nationals Arrested
The New Arab, on June 23, 2023, published a report revealing the Libyan attorney general’s office’s announcement of the arrest of 50 Chinese nationals involved in crypto mining activities in Zliten. Siddiq Al-Sour, the attorney general (AG), shared visual evidence, including photographs and videos, showcasing the mining campus located in the eastern part of the Tripoli province. Furthermore, preceding the detention of the 50 Chinese individuals, ten individuals associated with the operation had already been arrested two days prior.
As reported by middleeasteye.net, the Libyan attorney general’s office has expressed concern over the operation, stating that it “violates the law” and highlighting the utilization of “high-energy devices [that] harness a large amount of material to mine cryptocurrencies.” Additionally, the report mentions that Libyan officials are actively seeking experts to evaluate the extent of the impact on the “public interest.” While both accounts confirm the arrest of 50 individuals, specific information regarding the number of dismantled machines has not been disclosed.
“The mining systems included a matrix of wires connecting digital conversion systems, data servers, fans, and high-voltage refrigerators,” middleeasteye.net staff writers declared.
Despite the official prohibition of cryptocurrency mining in Libya, the country continues to entice miners due to its highly advantageous energy conditions. With electricity costs as low as $0.004 per kilowatt hour (kWh), which amounts to less than a U.S. penny, it is still an attractive location for setting up mining operations. Interestingly, in 2021, Libya achieved the highest Bitcoin production rate among all African regions across the continent, despite the ban on the practice. Similarly, China, where crypto mining is also banned, still accounted for 20% of the global hashrate in May 2022.
What are your thoughts on the trend of cryptocurrency mining operations in areas where they are banned? Share your thoughts and opinions about this subject in the comments section below.