Tech

Dennis Wafula

Iceland tracks down 600 missing crypto mining machines to China

A ray of hope shined down in Iceland over the weekend, following reports that the 600 cryptocurrency mining computers stolen in four separate burglaries in the country could have made its way to China.

According to local reports, Chinese’s authorities confiscated 600 mining machines and eight high-powered fans in Tianjin in late April after a local power company reported unusual power usage in one of their lines. The stolen electricity is believed to be worth hundreds of thousands of Chinese RMB.

The report prompted authorities from Iceland to send an inquiry to the Chinese government concerning the 600 mining machines. Icelandic police believe the confiscated mining mines could be the same stolen machines from three data centers in their country. The incident dubbed as “the Big Bitcoin Heist,” happened in the months of December and January. The stolen machines are believed to be worth about $2 million.

Eleven individuals were arrested in connection with incident. Authorities said the heist was carried out in four separate events—three in December and one in January. Among those arrested was Sindri Thor Stefansson, who authorities accused of being the brains behind the thefts. Stefansson escaped from the local prison but was later arrested in the Netherlands. He is expected to be extradited to Iceland in the coming days.

Mining cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin require a lot of power, prompting authorities to put up measures to help reduce high power usage caused by the activity. A Chelan County Public Utility District (CCPUD) in Washington launched a moratorium against cryptocurrency mining after they determined that the electric grid was being overwhelmed. Those who will violate the moratorium could face fines of up to $6,150 for residential mining and up to $ 11,400 for commercial mining. According to reports, the number of unregistered miners in Chelan County is greater than the number of registered miners. The CCPUD hopes the new framework will help reduce power usage in the county.

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