Ukrainian police seized cryptomining farm that ran thousands of PS4s

Ukrainian authorities discovered a hangar that contained more than 3,800 PS4s, linked together to mine cryptocurrency.

ZDNet is relaying an astonishing news item detailed by the Ukrainian authorities. The police discovered ” the biggest illegal cryptocurrency farm ”, of the country in an abandoned warehouse in Vinnytsia, a city of more than 370,000 inhabitants. Although deserted, it belongs to an electricity company JSC Vinnytsiaoblenergo, which has denied any connection with the defendants.

Inside the hangar were 3,800 PlayStation 4s lined up on shelves, linked together for one purpose: to mine bitcoin. In addition to the consoles, the authorities found ” 500 graphics cards and 50 processors. »All the material has been seized. While China, like a handful of other countries, has banned mining, Ukraine has not. So why this arrest? Well quite simply, because the minors are accused of having taken advantage of the city’s electricity network without paying. Law enforcement assesses the farm’s bill between $ 186,200 and $ 259,300 per month.

Ukrainians were mining cryptocurrency using PS4. // Source: Security Service of Ukraine

PS4s used for their GPU

Basically, mining consists of making the computational capacities of its hardware available to the blockchain, in exchange for a gain of cryptocurrency once the computation is complete. To generate a profit, it is therefore necessary to mine a lot and reduce as much as possible two costs: that of the material and that of the electricity. Some cybercriminals do away with both by installing cryptomining malware on their victims’ devices. But more often than not, farm managers just try not to pay for electricity by connecting to the so-called “domestic” network which, for example, powers city lights. They hope in this way to forget the cost of electricity for their farm in the city’s total bill.

But the real peculiarity of the situation reported by the Ukrainian security forces is the massive use of PS4. You probably already know that GPUs, those components commonly known as graphics cards, are missing. They are missed by video game enthusiasts, tech giants, but also all kinds of industries such as medicine or the automobile. These same GPUs are at the heart of cryptocurrency mining since they have the particularity of excelling in the types of calculations required for blockchain operations.

As a result of this multisectoral shortage, scarce stocks are being snapped up at a high price, and contraband is flourishing more than ever. As a result, the cost of equipment for miners explodes. But our Ukrainians have found a way to get around this trend… by buying PS4s. Each console contains an AMD GPU, which can technically be allocated for mining. And with the arrival of the PS5 (also difficult to find because of the shortage), the older generation has come down in price.

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