Chinese Men Surrender 14 Bitcoins After Stealing Electricity for Crypto Mining
On December 24, a court in China’s Jiangsu province dealt with a case of bitcoin mining by stealing electricity. From March 2017 to May 2019, ten defendants successively purchased more than 3000 bitcoin mining machines, rented workshops for private connection and stole a large number of power secretly. Among them, the main culprit was involved in more than 13 million Chinese yuan.
In the trial, the culprits voluntarily returned 14 bitcoins and nearly 4000 “mining machines” seized by the police as compensation, and they had no objection to the criminal facts charged by the police.
Bitcoin mining – the process of generating new units of the cryptocurrency by confirming transactions on an online ledger called the blockchain – has become extremely popular in China in recent years, thanks to relatively cheap electricity prices in the country.
This case is also the largest theft of state-owned power in Jiangsu province after the founding of the new China.
In order to reduce the high cost of operating bitcoin mining machines, the defendants conspired to rent sites in Dantu District of Zhenjiang City from March 2017 to May 2019, and stole state-owned power to mine bitcoin through short-circuit of mutual inductors. In the meantime, the defendants still contribute to join and help maintain the management.
All stolen money has been returned to Zhenjiang Power Supply Branch of State Grid Jiangsu Electric Power Co., Ltd. The culprits voluntarily returned 14 bitcoins and nearly 4000 “mining machines” seized by the police as compensation, and they had no objection to the criminal facts.
Stealing electricity is not new in China, an old woman aged 61 in China has been sentenced to detention of four months for stealing electricity to mine bitcoin, in addition to jail time, the suspect has also been fined 10,000 yuan (roughly $1,450), and was ordered to cover the cost of the electricity charges accrued during that period with her mining equipment confiscated by authorities.
As the bitcoin network grows, the processing power needed to mine them also grows. This has led to a government-led crackdown in China on illegal bitcoin mining operations.