Crypto mining has become an incredibly lucrative endeavor for many across the globe, but for one group in China it has led to arrests and criminal charges. This occurred in eastern China where a crackdown on stolen energy resulted in the confiscation of 4,000 mining devices that racked up an electric bill of nearly $3 million.
According to law enforcement officials, they were notified after the local electrical company within the area detected a massive power use at one location, The Guardian reported. Police raided the facility, finding that a mining farm existed that had thousands of machines operating in an attempt to mine for cryptocurrency. The police arrested 20 individuals who participated in the operation, but what the group was officially charged with was not reported.
SegWitCoin (BTC) has been on the rise lately, reaching a price of about $12,000, and the difficulty to mine it has gone up, increasing the popularity and energy consumption of miners. This has prompted many governments across the globe to crack down on those who are using excessive amounts of electricity.
China has been cracking down on cryptocurrency trading in general within the country. In 2017 they banned the trading of digital currencies and shut down a number of coin exchanges. It also banned companies from raising funds by offering initial coin offerings.
China has also created a number of laws to bar individuals or groups from mining or using electricity for crypto mining. Electricity theft is a serious crime, and those involved in the mining operations can also be charged with crimes related to hacking. However, it has not seemed to have the desired effect.
More energy is used in China each year in the mining of crypto coins than in any other country on the globe. There are reports that China uses as much as 50% of the total amount of electricity spent on crypto mining.
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