Chinese Police Bust Cryptocurrency Miners Illegally Stealing Electricity

Police went to inspect the ‎premises after energy suppliers reported ‎significant power losses.

Chinese police have initiated criminal investigations against six persons ‎for operating illegal cryptocurrency mining, local media outlet Xinhua reports, ‎citing a local police spokesperson. ‎

While investigating an unusual surge in electricity consumption in the city of ‎Tianjin, the police discovered the facility, which short-circuited the mains to avoid ‎charges. The culprits have plugged the cables into a nearby transformer station. ‎

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The police went to inspect the ‎spot after a local energy supplier reported significant power losses coming ‎from the mining area, nearly 28 percent at peak consumption hours. A search of ‎the area led to the discovery of over 600 mining computers connected via ‎electrical cables in what the police described as “largest power theft case in recent years.”

‎“Eight high-power fans were also seized,” Xinhua added.

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China and several countries have recently intensified their efforts to crack down on ‎cryptocurrency mining, which involves an energy-intensive process of solving math ‎problems to add transactions to the blockchain.‎

This isn’t the first time cryptocurrency miners have been accused of ‎illegally using subsidized electricity in China, which its authorities ‎previously called for an orderly exit from the industry.

The country’s miners have played a significant role in the cryptocurrency ecosystem where they ‎once accounted for 70 percent of all mined bitcoins. ‎

‎While cryptocurrency mining is not a fraudulent practice in itself, it’s necessary for miners to carry out these operations in compliance with ‎guidelines applicable to their localities.‎

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