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Chinese Miner Sentenced to 3.5 Years in Jail for Stealing Train Power to Mine Bitcoin

A man in China has been sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment for stealing electricity from a train station to power his bitcoin mining operations, according to local media outlet The Paper.

As per the court document revealed on October 8, in addition to jail time, the suspect has also been fined 100,000 yuan (roughly $14,500), and was ordered to cover the cost of the electricity charges accrued during that period with his mining equipment confiscated by authorities.

The suspect, named Xinghua Xu, has reportedly stolen electricity power from one of the factories at Kouquan Railway near where he lives during November and December 2017 to power his 50 bitcoin miners and 3 electric fans round the clock.

As of April 2018, Xu was said to have successfully mined 3.2 bitcoins, earning 120,000 yuan (roughly $17,400 calculated by the bitcoin price in April) at the cost of 104,000 yuan ($15,000) in electricity.

In this case, only 3.2 bitcoins were gained with 50 miners running 24/7 for four months, the gross profit was just over 10,000 yuan ($1,450), not to mention the expenses of mining hardware.

While the case is not the first of this kind in China. In June, another suspect was arrested in Anhui province for attempting to steal electricity to fuel his mining operations. He squandered 150 megawatt (MW) of power to fuel two hundred computers that he used to mine both bitcoin and Ethereum – running a bill of over 6000 yuan ($930) per day. But he was said to have failed to make any profit before he was caught.

China, a has-been crypto mining giant with cheap electricity and land available, is now trying hard to drive cryptocurrency out of its territory after serial crackdown on crypto and mining. These illegal conducts are particularly targeted.

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