Borneo authorities seize illegal crypto miners running off stolen power

    2023.07.31 | exchangesranking | 1710onlookers

    Borneo authorities seize illegal crypto miners running off stolen power

    Authorities in the town of Miri on the island of Borneo shut down an illegal cryptocurrency mining operation and seized equipment following a tip-off from the public.

    According to local news outlet The Borneo Post, Sarawak Energy discovered the operation, which included 34 cryptocurrency mining servers operating using stolen electricity through cable tapping.

    Authorities seized all of the equipment used in the operation, including servers and tapping cables, while local police are now investigating the latest mining operation to be taken down on the island.

    Cryptocurrency mining servers found at a shophouse in Marina Square, Miri. Source: The Borneo Post

    Sarawak Energy estimated that the operation was utilizing around 6,000 Malaysian ringgits a month ($1300) worth of stolen electricity. An announcement from the utility noted that although Sarawak offers some of the lowest energy prices in Malaysia, energy theft remains an issue.

    Another public tip-off in 2023 saw over 137 cryptocurrency mining servers seized by authorities in the state of Senadin, where Miri is located.

    As Cointelegraph recently reported, Bitcoin  miners continue to weather a prolonged bear market that has put many operations under strain. This, in turn, has led to several mining firms and operators selling BTC in record amounts over the past few months.

    The Bitcoin mining ecosystem has also recorded a number of important metrics, with the network hash rate hitting all-time highs in 2023, corresponding with highs for network difficulty.

    While this typically indicates that the Bitcoin network is at its most resilient, with a record number of miners competing for block rewards while securing the network, it also places strain on smaller operators that do not have the economies of scale of larger operations.

    Furthermore, operators with lower electricity prices also stand to be more profitable, which is another driving factor behind the propensity for illegal mining operators to steal electricity from the grid. This removes the electricity running costs of mining, allowing unlawful operators to bank profits and pay off hardware costs.

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