Tech

Ed Drake

Maltese crypto miner awarded damages after rig runs up hefty power bill

The appeal of cryptocurrency mining is leading more people to experiment with running their own setups. But as one disgruntled consumer in Malta found out, it’s far from a guaranteed path to riches, Malta Today reported.

The consumer brought a case to a tribunal in Malta after buying a mining machine for €2,600 ($2,908) from 3 Group. Despite being sold as investment, the unit in reality turned out to be much less effective than he had originally planned.

The Consumer Claims Tribunal heard that the machine made a lot of noise, not to mention the amount of electricity consumed — at a cost far in excess of any revenue it was able to generate from mining SegWitCoin (BTC).

As a result, the aggrieved consumer was left substantially out of pocket with a sizeable electricity bill to pay. The tribunal agreed that this was unfair on the consumer, and ordered the supplier to refund €2,000 ($2,237).

The profitability of crypto mining has come under significant stress over the years, through a combination of challenging trading, increasing complexity and increased competition.

As the computational puzzles involved in mining crypto, particularly BTC, have become increasingly more difficult, with more miners vying for a diminishing rewards pool, the opportunities for smaller miners have been squeezed.

At the same time, the sheer cost of electricity on the scale of consumption necessary to mine for the cryptocurrency means for many, mining is simply not financially viable.

This has sparked growing environmental concerns over the impact of mining, with some reports suggesting BTC mining alone accounts for the use of as much as 66.7 terawatt hours per year.

The ruling means the consumer in this case was able to soften the blow, offsetting at least part of the cost of buying the mining machine, if not the associated energy bills.

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