Malaysian police in a city in Sarawak crushed the rigs in a crackdown on illegal electricity connections. Miners allegedly siphoned off almost $2 million worth of electricity to power the energy-intensive bitcoin mining machines.
The law enforcers confiscated the rigs in six separate raids between February and April. In total, police destroyed about $1.26 million of mining equipment.
The Malaysian city’s police chief Hakemal Hawari said that energy theft for mining operations has been so rampant this year, three houses burned down as a result of illegal electric connections.
“The electricity theft for mining bitcoin activities has caused frequent power outages and in 2021, three houses were razed due to illegal electricity supply connections,” the Miri police chief told local outlets.
The environmental impact of bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining is perhaps the most contentious debate in the digital-asset space in 2021. Many have so far accepted that bitcoin mining is indeed an environmental scourge because of the amount of energy needed to function.
It is estimated that bitcoin may soon consume more power than all of Australia and almost 10 times more than Google, Microsoft and Facebook combined.
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In Ukraine, for instance, the country’s Security Service raided a mining operation that used PS4 Pros as their machines, and the operators were accused of stealing electricity from the country’s power grid.
In May, British cops stumbled upon a bank of around 100 bitcoin mining rigs at a site police had been told was a marijuana farm. The site had stolen thousands of dollars worth of electricity to power its operations, according to police.
Despite these, demand for computers capable of carrying out the mining process is surging as speculators look to cash in on cryptocurrency. The machines now sell for thousands of dollars and take months to ship out.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 74: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin returns for a new season of the GHOGH podcast to discuss Bitcoin, bubbles, and Biden. He talks about the risk factors for Bitcoin as an investment asset including origin risk, speculative market structure, regulatory, and environment. Are broader financial markets in a massive speculative bubble?