Tazo from Tbilisi went to university in Nottingham (UK), where he was mainly hanging out with the Russian speaking post-Soviet crowd and became “the biggest YNWA FC Liverpool fan from Georgia”. His family suffered from repressions under Saakashvili’s presidency (2004-2013), but now he works at the Georgian Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development as an Investment Consultant. He said that he had to come back to Georgia because he loves his country and wants it to develop and to embrace the opportunities of new technologies. In particular, he is a big supporter of blockchain and cryptocurrencies and he organised the biggest Crypto Event in Georgia, the World Digital Mining Summit.
In fact, tiny Georgia turns out to be a superpower on the global crypto map. It has been called the second biggest producer of bitcoins in the world after China with up to 15% of global mining operations. Georgia offers abundant and cheap energy generated by its many hydropower plants. This, together with low taxes and little regulation, has attracted major players like BitFury and Birtvi, and one can find cryptocurrency ATMs in malls, vape shops and casinos. But alongside the big cryptocurrency companies, a smaller cottage industry of backyard mining operators developed, keen to grab a slice of the bitcoin pie. People rushed to remote highland areas to tap into cheap hydroelectricity. In fact, Georgia made history in becoming the first nation to create an operational blockchain-powered system for securing and validating government records, including property rights registration. However, all this drove the share of mining in Georgia’s electricity bill to a staggering range between 10% and 15%. With the crash of crypto prices in 2018, the crypto craze has somewhat abated in Georgia, too. “There was no country that was more crypto-friendly than Georgia. But now, there are more and more regulations on cryptocurrencies and on the use of electricity for mining,” said Tazo.