Chinese police have seized more than 200 computers used to mine cryptocurrencies after a man was alleged to have attempted to cheat the electricity company with unpaid bills.
Electricity Meter Short-Circuited
According to a report from the Xinhua news agency, the suspect, surnamed Ma, is alleged to have stolen 150,000 kW hours of electricity in more than one month. The suspect was using the computers to mine for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Ma, who purchased the computers in April, was hoping to make some money through this operation. However, Ma soon found that the daily power bill was 6,000 yuan, or $927. Law enforcement was called when the local power grid operator reported abnormal electricity usage.
The report states that the electricity meter had been short-circuited. It’s believed this was “an attempt to dodge the power bill.” At the time of the confiscation, Ma had not made any profits from the mining.
In April, Chinese police seized 600 Bitcoin mining machines following reports of irregular electricity use.
High Energy Consumption
The crypto market is steadily gaining in popularity. Yet, as it does, more people are turning their attention to mining cryptocurrencies. Unfortunately, unlike the early days, it’s no longer a case of switching on your computer to mine for a coin.
So many newbie miners don’t realize the cost involved due to the energy they are using. And, as in the case above, they soon receive a reality check when their energy bills come through. As a result, an analyst at Fundstrat Global Advisors has said that it’s no longer profitable to mine Bitcoin.
Tom Lee, managing partner and head of research at Fundstrat, said in March that Bitcoin was trading at a “break-even cost of mining a Bitcoin.” At the time, it was valued at $8,038. He added that some miners may simply turn their machines off until prices improve. Since then, Bitcoin has fallen to $6,374, according to CoinMarketCap. Over a 24-hour period, it has dropped by 5.45 percent.
Of course, while prices for the market are anything but positive at the moment, it remains to be seen how much of an impact this will have on the small-time miners. A study in March found that South Korea is the most expensive country to mine for cryptocurrencies. Unsurprisingly though, people will continue to mine for cryptocurrencies even if there is the risk of being caught using work equipment.
Do you think people will continue to mine regardless of the risks? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.