According to a report appearing in Xinhua, Police in a city North of China, Tianjin, have seized 600 computers believed to have been used in Bitcoin mining. The swoop followed complaints from the local power grid operator of an unusual surge in electricity usage.
“Eight high-power fans were also seized,” a local publisher Xinhua said, quoting local police and added that it was the “largest power theft case in recent years”.
The report does not indicate when or exactly where the operation was carried out.
Discouraging Crypto Mining
China has been a major crypto mining destination over the years, with huge mining firms being situated in the country. However, since last year, the country has become hostile to crypto miners with a sustained crackdown that has seen many of the larger firms reduce their mining activities.
In January, Reuters reported that China’s central bank told a top-level government Internet finance group that the monetary authority can tell local governments to regulate the power usage of Bitcoin miners, in order to gradually reduce the scale of their production.
The country has also been tough on other crypto-related activities like participation in ICOs and tough regulations for crypto exchanges.
New Mining Havens
Mining is highly energy intensive as the machines used consume a lot of energy to produce cryptocurrencies through solving different mathematical equations. This has seen leads to miners seeking locations with cheap electricity or resorting to electricity theft.
Cases of electricity theft have been on the rise not only in China but also in other places in the world as miners seek to maximize profits. Early last month, Russian authorities unearthed the largest Bitcoin mining facility in the world at the time, which was being operated illegally.
The recent crackdown on miners has led to them moving to other places in the world that are more accommodating. Russia and Iceland are becoming firm favorites for many companies and individuals in the mining industry.
Early this year, MoonLite, a crypto mining startup, announced that it was setting up a mining center in Iceland due to low electricity costs. The country has attracted numerous mining enthusiasts buoyed by the prospects of cheap and environmentally-friendly electricity.
The Russian Federation has shown its readiness to accommodate entrepreneurs looking to invest in cryptocurrency mining. Power is in plentiful supply in the country as homes and businesses only consume less than 60% of the total country’s electricity power. Recently, a Russian cryptocurrency investor purchased two electric power stations that will be used only for Bitcoin mining. The country has also invited foreign investors to take advantage of cheap electric power and negotiate favorable deals with the authorities.
According to Xinhua, five people are under investigation and another has been detained in the Tianjin case.
Is China trying to scare away crypto miners? Let us know in the comments section.