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For over a year, the oil-rich Central Asian country of Kazakhstan has maintained its position as the third-biggest contributor to Bitcoin (BTC) mining after surpassing Russia back in February 2021. 

As of January 2022, Kazakhstan contributed to 13.22% of the total Bitcoin hash rate, positioned right after the historical leaders the United States (37.84%) and China (21.11%), as shown below.

Along similar timelines, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance data estimated that Kazakhstan’s absolute hash rate contribution (monthly average) was 24.8 exahashes per second (Eh/s). Meanwhile, the US and China contributed 71 Eh/s and 39.6 Eh/s, respectively.

The International Energy Agency (IEA), which is co-funded by the European Union, highlighted Kazakhstan’s heavy reliance on non-renewable energy, such as oil (over 50%), coal (28%) and natural gas (17%) until 2020. The study revealed:

“Most coal is used for electricity and heat generation, while most oil is used by final consumers, particularly in road transport.”

However, the top three countries contributing to the Bitcoin hash rate continue to eat away the share of other players, such as Malaysia, Germany and Iran. Kazakhstan was among the first to welcome the displaced Chinese miners when the Chinese government imposed a blanket ban on Bitcoin and crypto mining and trading.

China resumed mining operations in September 2022, but the temporary mining ban stripped the country’s position as the biggest Bitcoin mining hub, placing the United States at the top ever since.

Related: Russian users are welcomed by crypto exchanges in Kazakhstan, but there’s a catch

Local reports from Kazakhstan highlighted the country’s intent to legalize a mechanism for converting cryptocurrencies to fiat.

Speaking at the international forum Digital Bridge 2022, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev shared his vision to make Kazakhstan a leader in the field of digital technology, cryptocurrency ecosystem and regulated mining.

“We are ready to go further. If this financial instrument shows its further relevance and security, it will certainly receive full legal recognition,” Tokayev stated.