Thursday, 30 November 2023
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Borneo authorities seize illegal crypto miners running off stolen power

Borneo authorities seize illegal crypto miners running off stolen power

Authorities in the town of Miri on the island of Borneo shut down an illegal cryptocurrency mining operation and seized equipment following a tip off from the public.

According to local news outlet Borneo Post, Sarawak Energy discovered the operation, which included 34 cryptocurrency mining servers that were operating using stolen electricity through cable tapping.

Authorities seized all the equipment used in the operation, including servers and tapping cables, while local police are now investigating the latest mining operation to be taken down on the island.

Cryptocurrency mining servers found at a shophouse in Marina Square, Miri. Source: Borneo Post

Sarawak Energy estimated that the operation was utilizing around 6,000 ringgit a month ($1300) worth of stolen electricity. An announcement from the utility noted that although Sarawak offers some of the lowest energy prices in Malaysia, energy theft remains an issue.

Another public tip-off earlier in 2023 saw over 137 cryptocurrency mining servers seized by authorities in the state of Senadin, in which Miri is located.

Related: Bitcoin block 800,000 mined — What’s next?

As Cointelegraph recently explored, Bitcoin (BTC) miners continue to weather a prolonged bear market that has put many operations under strain. This in turn has led to a number of mining firms and operators to sell BTC in record numbers over the past couple of months.

The Bitcoin mining ecosystem has also recorded a number of important metrics, with the network hash rate hitting all-time highs in 2023 which has coincided with corresponding highs for network difficulty.

While this typically indicates that the Bitcoin network is at its most resilient with a record number of miners competing for block rewards while securing the network, it also places strain on smaller operators that do not have the economies of scale of larger operations.

Furthermore, operators that have lower electricity prices also stand to be more profitable, which is another driving factor behind the propensity for illegal mining operators to steal electricity from the grid. This removes the electricity running costs of mining, which means illegal operators can bank profits to pay off hardware.

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