Chinese Police Confiscate 600 Bitcoin Mining Computers for Stealing Electricity

Chinese police have seized 600 bitcoin mining computers after noticing an abnormal power surge on the local electricity grid, as reported by China’s state-owned press agency. Local officials have labeled the theft as one of the biggest electricity loots in the country.

Chinese Miners Illegally Overload the Power Line

According to the Xinhua report, eight high-powered fans were confiscated along with 600 bitcoin mining computers in the northeastern port city of Tianjin. The Tianjin police labeled the incident “the largest case of power theft in recent years”.

The local power company reportedly witnessed an increased consumption load of up to 28 percent on one line. Further investigation revealed that the junction box from where the power load increase was observed had been tampered with by bitcoin miners. The suspected miners had short-circuited the meter to evade paying the electricity bill. Cryptocurrency mining is an energy-intensive activity and can be heavy on the hip pocket.

Tianjin police have taken one suspect into custody for tampering with the junction box. The police are probing a number of other persons of interest over their involvement in the crime.

The Chinese Government Can’t Suppress the Crypto Craze

With low-cost electricity and a relatively cold climate in the north, China remains the world leader in mining bitcoin. Its favorable conditions have led to Chinese miners housing a large percentage of the bitcoin hash rate, dominating the bitcoin mining industry. The country is home to several of the largest mining pools in the world.

However, recent actions by the Chinese government have discouraged mining activity in the country. China’s Central Bank has asked its local governments to monitor the power consumption of crypto miners in the country in a bid to reduce the scale of mining. The move was to not oust mining activities, but to monitor and ensure a fair use of resources. Chinese police have been instructed to monitor the industry closely.

In the past, in reference to the crypto exchange ban in the country, Bobby Lee, CEO of Hong Kong-based bitcoin exchange BTCC, told CNBC, “The more the governments and the regulators tried to put a squeeze on bitcoin, the more we see that bitcoin is actually resilient”.

For the time being, it is still uncertain how much mining activity has moved out of the country. Despite the regulatory pressure on cryptocurrencies on the mainland, the Chinese government has been unable to suppress the domestic crypto hype.

The government has also restricted its citizens from access to social media accounts of many of the overseas crypto exchanges, yet users are reported to have found ways to circumvent the blockade. The ongoing tussle has cast a shadow over the future of cryptocurrencies in the country. Despite the regulatory crackdown, the Chinese crypto community apparently remains as strong and vibrant as ever.

Are the Chinese police adequately equipped to curb cryptocurrency mining in the country? Share your views in the comments section below.

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