Authorities in the town of Miri on Borneo Island have dealt a significant blow to an illegal Bitcoin mining operation after receiving a tip-off from the public. The operation came to light when Sarawak Energy, the local utility company, stumbled upon the illicit activity, which involved 34 cryptocurrency mining servers running on stolen electricity obtained through cable tapping.
In response to the tip-off, authorities swiftly took action and confiscated all equipment used in the illegal mining operation, including the servers and tapping cables. Local police have launched an investigation into the matter, seeking to uncover the individuals behind this unlawful endeavor.
The estimated cost of stolen electricity used by the operation was a staggering 6,000 ringgit per month (equivalent to around $1300 USD). While Sarawak Energy offers some of the lowest energy prices in Malaysia, energy theft remains an ongoing issue, posing significant challenges for utility companies and authorities alike.
This incident is not an isolated case on the island of Borneo. Earlier in 2023, another public tip-off led to the seizure of over 137 cryptocurrency mining servers in the state of Senadin, which is also located in the region of Miri. The prevalence of illegal cryptocurrency mining operations has raised concerns among authorities, necessitating more stringent measures to combat the unauthorized use of electricity for mining purposes.
The broader Bitcoin mining ecosystem has also witnessed noteworthy developments in 2023, with the network hash rate reaching all-time highs. This surge in hash rate indicates the Bitcoin network’s enhanced security, as more miners compete for block rewards while actively safeguarding the network. However, it also places additional strain on smaller mining operators who lack the economies of scale enjoyed by larger mining operations.
Moreover, miners operating in regions with lower electricity prices have a competitive advantage, making illegal electricity tapping an attractive proposition for certain unscrupulous individuals seeking higher profitability. By stealing electricity from the grid, illegal miners eliminate the cost of electricity, thereby increasing their overall profits, which can be utilized to expand their mining hardware or accumulate personal gains.
To tackle this problem effectively, authorities are doubling down on their efforts to identify and dismantle illegal cryptocurrency mining operations. Public vigilance and prompt reporting of suspicious activities have become essential in curbing these illicit activities.