A man has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing electricity from a train network to fuel his Bitcoin mining activities.


Mines 3.2 Bitcoins

According to local media, the Chinese man has also been fined RMB 100,000 (around $14,500).

The man in question is Xu Xinghu, from Datong, a city in northwestern China’s Shanxi province. It’s alleged that the suspect stole RMB 104,000 worth of electricity from the train network’s power lines. He is reported to have put this to run his 50 Bitcoin mining machines and three cooling fans. The mining took place between November and December last year.

By April, Xinghu had mined 3.2 Bitcoins, worth around RMB 120,000. Following his sentencing, police confiscated his equipment. With interest rising in the crypto market, people are turning their attention to mining their own coins. However, to do so now is no longer cost-effective. The high electricity costs involved as well as having to pay for the equipment often sees people turning to other means.

This can include using electricity from other sources. In this instance, the individual used the train network’s electricity to fund his mining activities. Interestingly, despite China’s crackdown on the market, people in the country are still finding ways to get involved. This is despite the fact that China’s top internet-finance regulator, the Leading Group of Internet Financial Risks Remediation, issued a notice asking local governments to help Bitcoin-mining operations to make an “orderly exit” from the sector.

This, of course, is not the first instance of authorities taking Bitcoin mining machines away from the public.

Police Crackdown

In April, it was reported that Chinese authorities had confiscated 600 computers used to mine Bitcoin. This was down to irregular electricity usage. At the time, it was noted as the “largest power theft case in recent years.”

In June, Chinese police took control of 200 computers to mine the cryptocurrency. A man is alleged to have stolen 150,000 kW hours of electricity in more than one month to power his activities. However, when he realised he couldn’t pay for the electricity he tried to short-circuit the electricity meter.

These are just a few instances. However, they paint a picture of people taking drastic action to power their Bitcoin mining machines. Unfortunately, as can be seen, they don’t always get away with it.

Do you think people will continue to steal electricity for their Bitcoin mining activities? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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