The cryptocurrency ecosystem has gained tremendous popularity and value over the last decade. The cryptocurrency mining industry, specifically, miner rewards has caught the attention of many. The rewards that miners earn after mining every block seems to have opened doors for many crypto miners as they have been flooding the ecosystem regardless of the resources. In more recent updates, two crypto platforms were raided by Malaysian officials for stealing electricity to facilitate crypto mining operations.
Malaysia’s Big Crypto Mining Arrest
As reported by The Star, a total of 2.5 million Malaysian Ringgit [600,000 USD] worth of electricity was stolen over a period of three years in Iskandar Puteri. The raid was carried out by Malaysia’s Energy Commission along with Tenaga Nasional Berhad [TNB], a multinational electricity company along with Iskandar Puteri City Council.
TNB reportedly incurred a loss of 80,000 Malaysian Ringgit every month which was about 20,000 USD. Nazlin Alim Sadikhi, the Regional Director of the Energy Commission revealed that illegal wiring was installed to make sure that the electricity went through directly and not through the TNB meter. The Director further said,
“The first premises is believed to have been operating for three years while the second premises for two years. We found 100 mining machines in the first premises and another 48 in the second premises.”
Post the raid, the authorities concluded that the electricity bills for both the first and the second premises accounted for 30 Malaysian Ringgit and 60 Malaysian Ringgit a month, respectively, as opposed to the 80,000 Malaysian Ringgit.
It is not news that crypto mining consumes a lot of electricity. Reports even suggest that crypto mining accounts for 0.21% of the world’s electricity supply. If the accused are found guilty, they would be obligated to face a total of ten years in prison or a hefty penalty of $1.2 million, under Section 37 of the Electricity Supply Act of 1990.
After China, Malaysia seems to be a hotbed for electricity thefts, particularly for crypto mining. In 2020 alone, Malaysian authorities reportedly took down about 90 such operations. A total of 288 mining busts have taken place in Johor since 2018. TNB’s Team Engineer, Mohd Satari Mohamad added,
“In most cases, the owners of the premises were in cahoots with the cryptocurrency mining operators. They have similar operation methods where they have illegal wiring installed to the mining machines to illegally draw electricity supply.”