Ukraine has a strict ban against cryptocurrency. It has been well-documented, and penalties can be quite severe. What isn’t expressly banned, however, is cryptocurrency mining. Unless it’s performed underground by stealing electricity from the state. Underground mining took on a whole new meaning recently when the country’s own Lviv Railway company was busted for mining crypto—underground.
Officials of the company reportedly set up a massive mining farm using the company’s electricity. They connected over 100 different rigs to carry out their operations and mine BTC, but was discovered by the railway company’s security service, along with local law enforcement, during a routine inspection of facilities.
It isn’t clear how much mining was done, but the investigation determined that the operation used around $41,300 this year alone. It also isn’t clear what charges could be brought against the unidentified company employees.
The director of the Department of Economic and Information Security of Ukrzaliznytsia JSC, Oleg Nazaruk, released a statement about the activity and the discovery of the equipment, explaining, “During the inspection of the premises where the so-called farm was located, more than 100 pieces of computer equipment were identified that were generating [BTC]. The aforementioned equipment was connected to the Ukrzaliznytsia power grid. The estimated amount of losses since the beginning of the year is UAH 1 million [$41,300].”
This isn’t the first time this year that crypto mining has been found at state-run facilities. Only a few months ago, equipment was found running at the South Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant. Given that the facility is completely off-limits to any type of external computer equipment, it became a huge security breach and the officials reportedly involved are now going to face charges that could extend to violating national security laws.
Ukraine may be close to changing its position on digital currency. Earlier this month, it indicated that it was formulate a plan with Binance for the regulation of crypto in the country and that plan is expected to be ready before the end of the year. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said at the time, “Thanks to this step, both Ukrainians and global cryptocurrency companies will be able to operate in Ukraine openly and transparently.”
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