German police have arrested six members of a mining ring who were making use of stolen electricity to mine currency since 2017, as reported by Freie Presse, February 6, 2019.
While people around the world enjoy using cryptocurrency, the actual process of mining crypto is quite tedious and more importantly, expensive, particularly in terms of energy cost. This has seemingly resulted in many stealing electricity in order to engage in mining operations.
This was the case of five men and a woman in Klingenthal, Germany, who were arrested after running a mining farm using stolen electricity.
The farm was located at PGH Elektro, a former electrical services company and housed about 49 individual computers. 30 of the computers had mining hardware such as GPUs (graphics processing units.)
According to the police force that discovered the illegal operation, the farm had been in operation since around 2017 and has made use of up to $250,053 worth of stolen electricity, enough to power 30 households. The exact cryptocurrencies that were being mined weren’t stated in the report.
This is only one of the many instances where people have been stealing electricity in order to mine cryptocurrency, though they are often caught.
The Cost of Mining
For individuals and companies that engage in cryptocurrency mining, energy costs are one of the biggest overheads to consider. In order to mine cryptocurrency in a more cost-effective manner, many firms move their operations to places with cheaper electricity costs.
However, this has not been without some controversy. Several residents of these areas that have seen an influx of crypto mining firms have requested that crypto mining firms be banned from their towns, with some having their wishes granted.
In 2018, Norway announced that it would no longer be subsidizing the costs of electricity for mining firms, causing the cost of mining in the country to soar.
Perhaps the biggest problem of the high cost of crypto mining in recent times is that while it is fairly constant, the market has all the while been notoriously volatile. As a result, it has become unprofitable for people and firms to mine certain coins as they are worth far less than they used to be. In the months following the price crash of late 2018, several mining firms had to shut down altogether.
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