Bulgaria arrests suspects in $1.5M power theft to mine BTC

Bulgaria arrests suspects in $1.5M power theft to mine BTC

Bulgarian authorities have arrested two men for funneling electricity to their BTC mining farm illegally. The two are alleged to have operated the mining farms for six months, stealing over $1.5 million worth of electricity in that time.

The authorities uncovered the illegal operation in the small town of Kyustendil in far west Bulgaria, a local outlet reported. In a crackdown by the Ministry of Interior Affairs and national power distribution company CEZ Electro Bulgaria, two men were arrested who are believed to have been the sole operators of the two farms. One of the men has prior convictions for crimes involving payment instruments, the outlet claims.

The two men were detained for 24 hours, after which they were released to await their trial.

According to Filip Yordanov, a director at the Ministry, the BTC mining farms siphoned off BGN 2.5 million ($1.52 million) from the national grid. Yordanov claimed that this was equivalent to the electricity consumption of Kyustendil province for one month.

The two men had been stealing electricity for six months for one farm, and three for the other, the report claims. However, the farms have been operating for longer, with the authorities estimating the operations have been ongoing for over 18 months.

“This is the largest electricity theft we’ve ever seen,” Yordanov claimed.

The authorities have sealed the premises and seized the block reward mining equipment.

Cases of block reward miners stealing electricity have risen in recent years. Just days ago, Malaysian authorities arrested five miners for stealing over $59,000 worth of electricity. The miners had managed to bypass the meter by making illegal connections. As CoinGeek reported, the miners were paying just $200 in monthly bills despite having a huge mining operation which was running throughout.

In Russia, there have been 35 cases of illegal power usage by block reward miners in the past three years. According to Rosetti, a Russian power company, these illegal connections have cost over $6.6 million in lost revenue.

Similar instances have been reported elsewhere across the world, including China, Ukraine and Armenia.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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