Armenia’s PM attended the opening ceremony of a controversial crypto mining farm touting itself as one of the “world’s largest.”
The opening ceremony of a new mining farm touting itself as one of the “world’s largest” was held in the Armenian capital Oct. 18, according to a report by local platform News Armenia. The Armenian Prime Minister and other top officials were reportedly in attendance.
The new mining farm is reportedly a joint venture by major Armenian conglomerate Multi Group, founded by oligarch and politician Gagik Tsarukyan, and controversial international mining firm Omnia Tech.
Tsarukyan is the founder of Tsarukyan Alliance, which represents the second biggest parliamentary bloc in the Armenian Parliament, having sealed over 27 percent of the vote in the country’s 2017 elections; he is also reportedly a “key” business partner of former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan.
Multi Group employs over 25,000 people through its various subsidiaries, according to News Armenia.
Aside from Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Tsarukyan, the event is reported to have been attended by numerous international businessmen, with Tsarukyan representing the event as drawing guests “from almost forty countries,” and further quoted by News Armenia as saying that:
“This is an important step towards the development of the information technology sector, especially since representatives of foreign business circles are planning to meet with government members to find out the possibilities of new and more ambitious investments in the Armenian economy and expanding the base of cooperation."
News Armenia reports that around $50 million has been invested in the creation of the new mining farm, which is said to currently have 3,000 Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) mining machines, and a planned capacity of 120,000 in future.
The report further states that “Omnia is the owner of equipment used in farms” belonging to prominent cloud mining firm Genesis Mining. It continues to allege that “Omnia provides Genesis with mining equipment and finances its servicing.”
This latter point is highly controversial given that in 2017, Omnia was accused of misappropriating the Genesis brand name and falsely claiming to have an association with the high-profile firm; Genesis has repeatedly refuted this representation, clarifying that Omnia had simply purchased hashpower from the firm and was a customer, but without any official partnership or substantive business ties.
In May of this year, Omnia was further accused of operating a pyramid scheme by security researcher Chris Kubecka, who similarly underscored the company’s false claims to have a legitimate association with Genesis.
As previously reported, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has proposed that all countries in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), including Armenia, should be part of a unified crypto-regulatory approach, given the “strong” and “close” economic ties between the bloc’s members.