Today, the Chinese police have reported that they apprehended a man accused of stealing power to run a mining operation of more than 200 computers used to mine Ethereum and Bitcoin. This marks a toughening in the measures taken to maintain illegal mining limited, according to an article published in the Chinese Xinhua news portal.
The phenomenon of illegal mining and power theft has increased lately in China, due to the enormous drop in price that the most popular mineable cryptocurrencies have experimented since the price hike in last December. Furthermore, at today’s prices, miners in certain parts of the world are losing money by operating. This is why power theft for mining has become a common crime.
The man arrested, surnamed Ma, had bought 200 computers without even knowing the energy cost of using them for mining or the revenue that they would generate. The problem is that only in energy, the man had to pay more than 900 dollars daily for the use of the computers; and register the operation to the government due to the sheer size of it.
Ma, opted for bypassing the apparatus designed to measure the power by short-circuiting it, so it did not show the real power consumption. But the Chinese police traced him easily because the total energy spent did not match the quantity of energy billed. Mining bitcoin and ethereum is an energy-intensive process that uses computers to perform intensive math calculations necessary for operating and making transactions possible on each blockchain. The police calculated that the man stole more than 150 Mwh for a month for this purpose.
The Chinese police are always on the lookout for illegal mining businesses that steal energy to operate, a thing that has been more common by the day. Mining is not inherently illegal in China, but the government does have an opposite stance on cryptocurrencies, having banned cryptocurrency exchanges since last year; but, registered mining operations and cryptocurrency related companies are able to operate safely if they abide by the local law.