An Armenian IT firm has been accused of illegally using electricity to power its cryptocurrency mining operations. According to an announcement by the National Security Service, the company has been mining crypto for the past one and a half years.
The company is alleged to have installed crypto mining equipment in one of Armenia’s hydropower plants without getting the necessary authorization. It was then able to use over 1.5 million kWh, worth $150,000. The agency notes its investigations are ongoing to reveal the people behind the project and if there’s any other damage that accrued from the activity.
This is the latest instance of the illegal use of electricity to mine cryptocurrencies. With electricity costs accounting for the highest share of costs in the mining process, some miners have sought to overcome this inhibitor by stealing the electricity. Unfortunately for them, they almost always end up being arrested and charged.
In August, the Malaysian principal electricity utility authority raided 33 unmetered crypto mining operations. Known as the Tenaga Nasional Bhd, the authority revealed that the operations had been operational for over six months prior to the raid. The operations reportedly cost the authority over $760,000 in stolen electricity.
In June, police in China uncovered an operation that was stealing electricity from the country’s largest oil field. The perpetrators had laid a series of cables through fish pods. The police had to use drones to unearth the operation. Still in China, a 61-year-old woman was sentenced to four months in prison and a fine after being convicted of stealing electricity to mine cryptos.
While some have turned to illegal usage of electricity, there are those that have taken advantage of the availability of free electricity to mine cryptos. A report by Cisco earlier this year revealed that colleges have become some of the leading locations for crypto mining operations. According to the report, colleges and universities only rank behind the energy and utilities sector in crypto mining. The free electricity on campus was found to be the biggest factor behind the widespread mining operations.
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