Malaysia Arrests Illegal Bitcoin Miners And Mining Rigs Destroyed

A big steamroller was used by the officials of the Malaysian law enforcement to destroy mining rigs used to mine Bitcoin. In this raid, up to 1069 rigs were seized and crushed in an operation executed by police officers and an energy company.

Crypto miners use sophisticated computers to attempt to solve very complex mathematical problems to mine BTC. The computers and the mining process are very energy-intensive, an attribute that has made crypto mining an unacceptable act among energy companies because it consumes much power, thereby jeopardizing power grids that serve the region.

Sarawak Energy, a huge Malaysia-based electric utility company, sought the support of the police officers from Miri in Malaysia to put an end to crypto miners that were discovered to have been stealing electricity for purposes of Bitcoin mining. The stealing was being done from Sarawak Energy power lines that run along Borneo Island. The crackdown was successful after six different raids that took place over a span of three months.

The destruction of the mining rigs was extraordinary, with the police officials spreading them out in a parking lot at their Miri Police Headquarters and running them over using a steamroller just as it is done while making tarmac roads.

The Plight of Crypto Mining

While the destruction of the mining rigs was necessary, it was also very costly, particularly for the miners. The devices that were destroyed were very expensive, costing up to $1.26 million. Although the cost or loss was too high a price, this does not compare to the cost of the energy they had stolen to that point.

According to Sarawak Energy, the electricity utility company has lost approximately $2 million worth of energy in the hands of crypto miners who actively steal energy. Also, they complained that the electricity that the miners were stealing was the main reason why there were so many instances of power outages throughout Malaysia. Another detrimental effect they associated with this act was the razing of 3 houses within the year following illegal electricity supply connection attempts. The houses went ablaze while the miners were attempting to steal the electricity by siphoning it out.

Other than the extensive energy loss associated with crypto mining, there is also the concern that it poses a threat to environmental safety. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, among others, is on record attesting to the detrimental effects of crypto mining hence his resolve to deny Bitcoin as an acceptable payment mechanism for buying Tesla vehicles.

The crackdown also led to the arrest of eight people, out of which six were charged with stealing energy supplies. The accused six are set to serve eight months imprisonment alongside an individual fine of $1,900 for every one of them.

A Better Alternative to Crushing Equipment

In as much as the miners were engaged in notorious activities, and the fact that the devices were the tools of the trade for what is considered criminal activity, perhaps there was a better way of handling the equipment.

The police officials acted as directed by a court order, which instructed them to get rid of the crypto mining devices. While selling them was an option and viable one at that, they saw it fit to send a message and warning to other crypto miners and ensure that no one would ever mine crypto again. However, more effective action would have been isolating the devices and acquiring materials that could have been reused or recycled for other value-adding production.

The action by the Malaysian officials in destroying the mining gear is different from what has been witnessed in other countries like China. The Republic of China prefers to auction any mining rigs that they confiscate. In extreme conditions, they would rather channel them back to their manufacturing departments to produce useful things.

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