Recently, Indonesian police authorities have taken decisive action against a network of Bitcoin mining operations, accusing their organizers of stealing nearly $1 million of electricity. The North Sumatra Police Force spearheaded the crackdown on this multi-site Bitcoin mining operation, spanning ten locations in Indonesia. Their operation led to the confiscating of 1,134 Bitcoin mining machines, 11 meters of electrical cable, and various computer equipment.
Electrical tampering allegations
According to Irjen Agung Setya Imam Effendi, Chief of North Sumatra Police, the organizers of this extensive Bitcoin mining operation had allegedly tampered with electrical circuits to power a substantial number of Bitcoin mining machines. Effendi pointed out that they had intercepted the electricity flow, diverting it from the official power supply system.
“As we can see here, this is the PLN box. However, the electricity flow inside is not the proper flow that should enter the box and be measured by the meter. Instead, they took the upper part, where electricity is directly from the pole and channeled inside,” noted Effendi during a press conference.
Substantial losses and implications
The impact of these illicit activities is substantial, with an estimated loss of approximately 14.4 billion Indonesian Rupiahs (IDR), equivalent to around $935,666. The electricity theft disrupts the legitimate power supply and poses a considerable financial burden on the local power utility and taxpayers.
This incident in Indonesia follows closely on the heels of a Chinese government official facing legal repercussions for facilitating electricity access to Bitcoin miners.
Chinese official sentenced to life for Bitcoin mining enterprise
Yi Xiao, a former vice chairman of the Jiangxi Provincial Political Consultative Conference Party Group, has been sentenced to life in prison by the Hangzhou Intermediate People’s Court for his involvement in a Bitcoin mining enterprise. Xiao was found guilty of abuse of power in connection with the operation of a Bitcoin mining venture under the corporate name Jiumu Group Genesis Technology. This enterprise operated from 2017 to 2021, amassing over 160,000 Bitcoin miners under Xiao’s leadership.
Xiao’s actions had far-reaching consequences, with his Bitcoin mining enterprise consuming 10% of the entire city of Fuzhou’s electricity supply. This resulted in a significant strain on local power resources and infrastructure.
Implications of the crackdown
These recent developments highlight the growing concerns surrounding the environmental and legal consequences associated with Bitcoin mining operations. Electricity theft and excessive energy consumption have emerged as serious issues, leading to disruptions in power supply and significant financial losses.
Indonesian authorities have taken a stern stance against Bitcoin mining operations involved in illegal activities, emphasizing the importance of adhering to electricity regulations and ensuring a fair distribution of resources.
In China, the life sentence handed to Yi Xiao sends a clear message about the government’s commitment to regulating cryptocurrency mining and ensuring responsible energy usage. It also serves as a deterrent to those seeking to exploit their positions for personal gain within the cryptocurrency industry.