Malaysian police go viral as they crush Bitcoin mining rigs

Bitcoin miners in Malaysia witnessed their equipment get crushed in a recent video put out by police in the country, CNBC today reported. The video sees over 1,000 Bitcoin mining rigs being run over by a steamroller as punishment for breaking the laws around power usage when mining the cryptocurrency. 

The rigs had a total value of over $1 million and were seized after the miners were found guilty of stealing electricity to power the miners. In normal circumstances, police are entitled to sell the mining gear to recover costs. However, in this case, they felt that crushing the rigs would send out a message to anyone attempting to steal electricity in the future. The fact that the video went viral adds to this belief. This is in contrast to Chinese authorities, who tend to sell any rigs they confiscate.

Eight people were arrested in the operation, which spread out across six different raids. Between February and April, Malaysian police raided several locations. The miners are alleged to have stolen more than $2 million worth of power in their mining operation.

Malaysian police go viral as they crush Bitcoin mining rigs

Mining for Bitcoin is not illegal in Malaysia, which is partly why Malaysia is one of the most popular countries for Bitcoin miners. It currently comes into the top 10 mining locations, accounting for over 3% of the total Bitcoin mining in the world. However, bitcoin mining does attract criminals, with most opting to steal the power that the mining rigs require in an attempt to considerably cut down on the costs associated with Bitcoin mining, which can be significant.

The latest raid follows on from the discovery of another Bitcoin miner in the city of Melaka. This saw another $2 million worth of power stolen to run the mining rigs. Although the law around power lines isn’t directly linked to Bitcoin mining, there is still a potential prison sentence of up to five years for anyone who tampers with a power line. 

Of the eight arrests that were made from the raids, six people have been charged. If found guilty, they will face a fine of $1,900 each and eight months in prison. This is all part of the current crackdown the Malaysian authorities are carrying out against the illegal activities of Bitcoin miners.

Intensified crackdown on bitcoin trading and mining in China paused business in May.  It has also had a massive effect on digital currencies during a time when scrutiny of them is heightening on a global scale. Following the  Beijing bitcoin mining crackdown, the Governor of the Bank of Japan joined the growing consensus from other central bankers regarding Bitcoin as a result of its recent volatility in the financial market.

With Bitcoin’s growth in the past few years, its energy consumption has also expanded. Bitcoin’s energy inefficient form has set off a backlash amongst those who fear that increase in the cryptocurrency’s adoption also means an increase in its already large carbon footprint.

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