Mining Hardware Worth $1.9m Stolen In Russia
- Mining Hardware are specialized computers used to mine Bitcoin
- Russia is one of the leading nations in bitcoin mining.
In another case of theft, Russian authorities in Irkutsk Oblast are reportedly probing the operators of a mining hosting facility and accusing them of theft. The operators are believed to have defrauded clients and stolen costly mining hardware.
According to law enforcement officials, the miners gave their equipment to those in charge of the mining hotel in the hope of making quick money. The operators eventually stopped making any payments to their clients and didn’t give back the pricey equipment.
The prosecutors were able to prove that the accused operators tricked people into installing their coin-minting equipment in a mining hotel between November 2021 and May 2022. They also got electricity and accommodation lesser than the usual price.
Furthermore, the operators complained of a lack of available rental space and pressured the miners to hastily turn over their equipment. Only employees of the hosting firm had access to the mined coins, but the location of the equipment was kept hidden.
A statement from the officials read,
A criminal case was initiated based on these facts under part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (large scale fraud). Various material evidence, including computer equipment and documentation, was seized from their office.
The scammers are currently being sought by Russian police as reports have it that about a hundred people were directly affected by the situation. The total estimate for the mining hardware is roughly $1.9 million.
Irkutsk Witnesses Increased Mining Activities
Irkutsk has experienced a rise in cryptocurrency mining, with farms being erected in basements and garages and fueled by subsidized family electricity. The region has one of the lowest electricity prices in the nation, with rural areas starting at only $0.01 per kWh.
The inflow of miners to the oblast has however had some effect. Local electricity providers complained earlier this year about a spike in domestic power consumption that was attributed to home mining. But that has not kept miners away from the region.
According to Russian media sources, planes carrying used mining equipment from China, which began cracking down on the sector in May 2021, have continued to land in the area this year even as the number of theft cases involving mining hardware has increased. Russia wields a friendly approach to cryptocurrency mining so that it can take advantage of its vast energy resources. The country however has an unclear stance on cryptocurrencies.
In addition to Bitcoin mining, Russia is a significant player in the world energy markets. As of August 2021, the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index ranked the nation as the third greatest producer of BTC hash rates worldwide. However, Russia dropped to fifth place, according to the most recent index update, as its BTC hash rate dropped from 13.6 EH/s in August 2021 to 8.6 EH/s in January 2022.