Malaysian police crush $ 1.25 million worth of bitcoin mining platforms

Call it a cryptographic crackdown – literally.

Malaysian authorities seized 1,069 bitcoin mining platforms, cutlery out in a parking lot at the police headquarters, and used a steamroller to crush them, as part of a joint operation between law enforcement agencies in the city of Miri and the Sarawak Energy utility.

Deputy Commissioner Commission of Police Hakemal Hawari told CNBC the crackdown came after miners allegedly stole $ 2 million worth of electricity taken from Sarawak Energy power Lines.

A video of the event posted last week from local Sarawak news Dayak Daily outlet has since gone viral on social media.

acting on advice, authority on the island of Borneo has seized the plants in six separate raids between February and April. In total, Police destroyed approximately $ 1.26 million of extraction equipment.

The police decided to destroy the mine gear rather than sell it, in agreement with a court order. Other countries, like China, they took a different path, according to auction reports off seized plants.

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Hawari said the electricity theft of bitcoin miners set fire to three houses down in the city. Miri’s police chief told CNBC that there are no others active mining operations in course currently.

Cryptocurrency mining is the energy-intensive process it creates new bitcoin. when people they are “mining”, which in actually means they are trying to solve a complex mathematics problem using a highly specialized computer. Solve it problem it is both what unlocks new token and verify ver new transactions. However, by running those machines to full capacity absorb a great deal of power, which can compromise the room power grids.

During the extraction for cryptocurrencies are not illegal in Malaysia, there are strict laws in round power use. Section 37 of Malaysia Electricity Supply Law threaten those who tamper with power Lines with fines of up to 100,000 Malaysian ringgits ($ 23,700) and five years in prison.

Cambridge city center for Alternative finance estimates that Malaysia matters for 3.44% of all the world’S bitcoin miners, putting it in the prime ten mining destinations on the planet.

Eight were arrested in connection with the mining operation in Miri, and six people were charged under Section 379 in the penal code for stealing energy supplies, according to Hawari. The accused will be jailed for eight months and face A fine of up for $ 1,900 per person.

This is just the latest example of of Malaysia struggle to track down cryptocurrency mining criminals.

In March, a bitcoin miner in the city of Melaka on Peninsular Malaysia stole $ 2.2 million worth of electricity by the energy company Tenaga Nasional Berhad.

Malaysian Borneo is much less populated than Peninsular Malaysia.

– CNBC’s Nessa Anwar contributed to this report.

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