Bitcoin miners have been sentenced to eight months in prison after stealing $ 2 million worth of electricity. The local police destroyed their machines quite dramatically.
This is called sending a message. To destroy machines used by bitcoin miners that stole electricity, Malaysian police crushed them with a steamroller. Authorities in Miri, Sarawak, seized no less than 1,069 machines designed specifically to mine cryptocurrency last week, Vice reports on July 16. This powerful and enduring equipment is also expensive: the lot destroyed by the police in Miri was worth 5.3 million Malaysian ringgits, or more than 1.25 million dollars.
Two million dollars of stolen electricity
The actions taken by local authorities are indicative of the problem posed by bitcoin farms in several countries. Cryptocurrency mining is often very energy intensive. This is especially the case with those, like bitcoin, are based on “proof of work”, a robust verification process, but which requires miners to perform complex calculations to validate the transactions that take place on the bank. the blockchain – and collect the associated bitcoin reward.
To reduce their costs, miners prefer areas where electricity is inexpensive. But some do not hesitate to steal it. And the sums stolen can turn out to be very significant. The energy supplier Sarawak Energy Berhad estimates that the miners arrested by the police stole no less than $ 2 million in electricity. Miners siphon off so much energy that their activities can also overload the grid and cause blackouts in some neighborhoods.
Among the eight people arrested, six were sentenced to eight months in prison, said police chief Miri Hakemal Hawari in a statement taken up by Malaysian newspaper The Star. This is not the first time such cases have occurred in the state, he said: ” In 2021, three houses were razed because their inhabitants diverted electricity. “