Malaysian police have seized and destroyed 1,069 bitcoin mining rigs by crushing them with steam engines – after miners allegedly siphoned off nearly $2 million in electricity to power the machines that use them. use a lot of energy.
The machines, estimated to be worth about $1.25 million, were seized during a joint operation conducted by Miri city police and electric utility company Sarawak Energy between February and April, according to a report. report by the Malaysian National News Agency.
A video of the fascinating process posted last week by local newspaper Dayak Daily did rounds on social media.
Six people were arrested for the theft of electricity during the operation, and were fined nearly $2,000 as well as “jailed for up to eight months,” according to a statement from Miri’s ACP police chief Hakemal Hawari obtained by police officers. local store quote.
The theft of electricity to power bitcoin mining operations has been a persistent problem worldwide, especially since the bitcoin price skyrocketed earlier this year to over $60,000 per coin.
So-called Bitcoin mining involves using computers to solve complex mathematical problems in an attempt to be rewarded with newly minted units of the popular cryptocurrency, worth around $31,300 per coin as of 6 a.m. Monday.
In May, British police stumbled across a bank with about 100 bitcoin mining rigs at a location that police had been told was a cannabis farm. Police say the site stole thousands of dollars worth of electricity to power its operations at the time.
In Malaysia, the theft of electricity to power bitcoin mining operations has become an increasingly pressing issue for the authorities.
Police Chief Miri told local outlets: “The theft of electricity for bitcoin mining operations has caused frequent power outages and in 2021 three houses have been razed due to the supply connection. illegal electricity.
Critics of cryptocurrencies, and Bitcoin in particular, have taken aim at the mining process, saying that the need for energy is exacerbating climate change.
Several governments, including China’s, have cracked down on mining activities in the country, citing the environmental impact as well as the potential for cryptocurrencies to disrupt the established financial system. create.
However, the demand for computers capable of performing this process is growing as speculators seek out cryptocurrencies.
These machines now sell for thousands of dollars and take months to ship, according to China-based Bitmain.