After miners allegedly siphoned off nearly $2 million worth of electricity to fuel the energy-intensive bitcoin mining rigs, Malaysian police seized and destroyed 1,069 bitcoin mining rigs by crushing them with a steamroller.
Bitcoin Mining Rigs Destroyed
Authorities in Malaysia destroyed Bitcoin mining equipment worth more than $1.2 million after seizing them for operating illegally.
Police in the city of Miri on the island of Borneo and the Sarawak Energy business organized for a steamroller to run over 1,069 Bitcoin (BTC) miners, according to a video broadcast today by local news site DayakDaily. Between February and April, the rigs were allegedly recovered from Malaysian people who were attempting to illegally mine the cryptocurrency using stolen electricity.
According to a statement from Miri police commander ACP Hakemal Hawari, who was quoted by The Star, six people were detained for electricity theft and “have been fined up to RM8,000 and sentenced for up to eight months.” The rigs were recovered over the course of six searches, according to Dayak Daily, a local Sarawak news outlet. Sarawak Energy Berhad estimates that energy taken from its lines for the mining activity cost it RM8.4 million ($2 million USD), according to the outlet. A video of the miners getting steamrolled was also shared to YouTube by Dayak Daily.
Neither media explained why the cops believed it was necessary to destroy the minng rigs in such a dramatic manner, though it does send a powerful message. Electricity theft is a recurring problem in many areas where Bitcoin is mined, since some operators resort to unlawful tactics to obtain the inexpensive electricity required to earn a large profit mining cryptocurrency.
“The electricity theft for mining Bitcoin activities has caused frequent power outages, and in 2021, three houses were razed due to illegal electricity supply connections,” The Star quotes Hawari as saying.
As governments around the world wrestle with the impact of these activities, the fight against illegal crypto mining has remained unwavering. Earlier this month, equipment from a mining farm that employed PlayStation 4 consoles as mining rigs was seized in a raid in Ukraine. Officials in Iran, Turkey and other countries where mining is banned or restricted have been conducting raids on illegal crypto mining operations for some time, often resulting in arrests, fines, and seizure of the rigs.
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Bitcoin Mining Issues
The distributed ledger design of Bitcoin protects the blockchain network’s security and stability, but the mining technique consumes enormous amounts of energy. According to Digiconomist, the Bitcoin network already consumes as much energy per year as the entire country of Sweden, and this figure is expected to climb as additional mining power is added to the network (and vice versa).
The growing ban on bitcoin in China has recently dampened interest in the market. Crypto mining has been outlawed in a number of provinces, leading the Bitcoin network’s hash rate (or total computing power) to plummet as miners close up shop or relocate. The People’s Bank of China has also issued instructions to leading banks and payment institutions to identify cryptocurrency users and conduct stronger know-your-customer procedures.
The Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance estimates that Malaysia contributed 3.44% to Bitcoin’s total monthly hashrate as of April. The country has an annual energy consumption of more than 147 terawatt-hours.
BTC/USD falls to $30k. Source: TradingView
Related article | Over 3 Metric Tons Of Bitcoin Mining Rigs Airlifted Out Of China
Featured image from Getty Images, charts from TradingView