Russian Police Shut Down Illegal Cryptocurrency Mining Farm

Crime, News | April 13, 2018 By:

Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) officers have shut down a cryptocurrency mining farm for not paying several million kilowatt-hours of electricity.

Ministry of Internal Affairs spokeswoman Irina Volk said that the authorities went to inspect a cryptocurrency mining farm in Orenburg after a local energy supplier reported significant power losses coming from the area. Police found more than 6,000 pieces of mining equipment. The farm used eight million kilowatts per hour without taking into account power consumption.

Volk said they have launched a criminal case against the two men that were detained in the process of the raid. The two individuals are said to have been performing the illegal crypto mining operations from the beginning of last month. The suspects will be charged with stealing electrical power worth 60 million rubles ($1M USD).

Crypto mining has become a serious business in Russia. The country has an estimated 50,000 home miners, over and above its roughly 1,000 mining businesses that have their servers in dedicated environments, such as abandoned factories in the Siberian countryside.

According to the Chronicle of the Slavs, the largest bitcoin farm in Russia earns a total of 600 bitcoins ($4.8M USD) per month, with a monthly electricity bill of over 6,500,000 rubles or roughly $114,000.

Last month, Russian crypto miners called for the international mining community to take part in the ‘Crypto Hour’ by turning off their mining equipment for one hour in order to draw attention to the bitcoin network’s increasing energy consumption.