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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Kazakhstan saw a significant increase in crypto mining in 2021 following a ban on mining in China. Volatility in crypto markets and energy shortages, coupled with a prohibition on the circulation of crypto assets in Kazakhstan, reduced the size of the market by the following year. While retail and institutional crypto holdings are limited, growing public sector experiments with distributed ledger technology, a pilot project to allow the circulation of crypto in the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC), and mandates for crypto miners to store a proportion of their mining rewards in AIFC registered exchanges has the potential to increase the size of the sector. If incentives grow for users and firms to circulate crypto, the existing prohibition – which has dampened market growth, could become untenable. Although not a regulatory priority, the broad prohibition on crypto assets should be replaced by a robust regulatory framework, contingent on market growth, upskilling supervisors, and a globally coordinated move to implementing conduct and prudential regulation.
Mr. Shafik Hebous and Nate Vernon
With increasing awareness of past environmental damage from crypto mining, questions arise as to how persistent the problem will be in the future and how taxation can help in addressing this negative externality. We estimate that the global demand for electricity by crypto miners reached that of Australia or Spain, resulting in 0.33% of global CO2 emissions in 2022. Projections suggest sustained future electricity demand and indicate further increases in CO2 emissions if crypto prices significantly increase and the energy efficiency of mining hardware is low. To address global warming, we estimate the corrective excise on the electricity used by crypto miners to be USD 0.045 per kWh, on average. Considering also air pollution costs raises the tax to USD 0.087 per kWh. Country-specific estimates vary depending on their electricity sources.