Tech

Rebecca Asseh

Energy-stealing crypto miner faces jail time in China

A man in China has been ordered to spend three years and six months behind bars over charges of mining cryptocurrency using stolen power from a local train station, local news outlets reported.

Authorities said Xu Xinghua, of Datong in China’s northern province of Shanxi, successfully mined 3.2 BTC—worth an estimated 120,000 yuan or $17,400)—as of April. His crypto mining operations, which involved 50 crypto miners and three electric fans, were allegedly powered by electricity stolen from one of the factories at the Kouquan Railway. Xu reportedly ran up an electricity bill of 104,000 yuan ($15,000), according to reports.

The Datong Railway Transport Court confiscated Xu’s mining rigs and also ordered him to pay the 100,000 yuan ($14,500) fine, cnBeta reported. Xu was sentenced for his “miner theft case” last September 13.

Xu is the latest crypto-related case to have faced the wrath of the Chinese government, which has been relentlessly after crypto miners who it claims have been or are looking into illicitly using the country’s power supply. Recently, reports surfaced that China’s internet finance regulator, the Leading Group of Internet Financial Risks Remediation, has ordered local governments to “guide” crypto mining operations into making an “orderly exit” from the business. This comes on the heels of reports that the Chinese government is looking at limiting electricity supply to crypto miners.

The regulations, however, have yet to stop illegal crypto mining operations in China. In April, six people were reported to have stolen electricity from their local power grid to mine cryptocurrency. Two months later, a man was arrested in Anhui province on charges of stealing power of 150MW and running a bill of 6,000 yuan ($930) daily. According to reports, the man’s mining operation included 200 computers, which he used to mine BTC and ETH.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as SegWitCoin BTC coins. Altcoins, which value privacy, anonymity, and distance from government intervention, are referenced as dark coins.

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