Crypto mining has taken an audacious turn in Malaysia, where a group of determined miners is embarking on a relentless pursuit of energy so remarkably inexpensive that it borders on being free.
Caught in the crosshairs of this unconventional quest is Sarawak Energy, a prominent state-owned electric company in Malaysia, which has now set its sights on exposing these unscrupulous cryptocurrency miners accused of brazenly pilfering electricity to fuel their mining rigs.
While the specific cryptocurrency being mined remains undisclosed, it is worth noting that Bitcoin (BTC) continues to reign supreme among mining operations, particularly after Ethereum made the momentous shift to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism last year.
As the battle between crypto miners and electric companies escalates, the drive for cheap energy becomes a contentious focal point, with the stakes higher than ever before.
Crypto Miners In Malaysia Caught Stealing Electricity
Sarawak Energy, in collaboration with the local police force, successfully uncovered and apprehended two cryptocurrency mining operations that were allegedly engaged in the theft of approximately 30,000 Malaysian ringgits, equivalent to around $6,500, worth of electricity on a monthly basis.
Furthermore, the utility company revealed that these illicit mining outfits were closely linked and believed to be under the control of a single individual or entity.
Local news outlet MalayMail shed light on the modus operandi employed by these illegal electricity diverters, explaining their tactics aimed at evading detection.
The culprits resorted to fraudulent manipulation of electrical devices, including tampering with electricity meters, creating counterfeit meter covers, and surreptitiously tapping into underground power lines. These deceptive measures were employed to camouflage their unauthorized consumption of electricity for crypto mining purposes.
During the joint operation, a total of 120 mining machines, along with direct tapping cables and various other electronic devices, were confiscated and to be used as evidence for further investigation.
Theft of electricity in Malaysia is a crime that carries a fine and perhaps jail time under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance. Those found guilty could be subject to a maximum RM100,000 fine and/or five years in prison.
Crypto Mining Controversy Intensifies
While the recent crackdown on electricity theft by crypto miners in Malaysia sheds light on the illicit activities surrounding the industry, it also raises broader concerns about the environmental impact and energy consumption associated with cryptocurrency mining operations.
The controversy underscores the need for a delicate balance between technological advancements, economic interests, and sustainability goals.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin rely on energy-intensive processes, such as proof-of-work consensus algorithms, to secure their networks and validate transactions. This computational complexity necessitates substantial computing power and, consequently, enormous amounts of electricity.
As a result, mining operations have faced increasing scrutiny because of their significant carbon footprint and strain on energy resources.
Featured image from Businessday NG