Eight people were arrested for allegedly being involved in mining activities using stolen electricity. However, officials did not mention why the police decided to destroy the rigs in such a dramatic way, and not to use the expensive system for anything else.
Dayak Daily, a local news outlet in Sarawak, uploaded videos to YouTube showing the rigs being steamrolled. Check out the video below:
As the cryptocurrency market boomed earlier this year it focused largely on energy consumption in mining digital coins. In the energy-intensive “proof-of-work” process through which bitcoins are earned/generated, computers compete to solve complex mathematical equations. Given the competitive element in the search for valuable cryptocurrencies, powerful mining rigs (PCs built with the aim of maximizing mining rewards) are preferred by cryptocurrency miners.
Local newspaper The Star reported that a total of 1,069 bitcoin mining rigs were seized in the Malaysian city. All the rigs seized were “disposal” at Miri District Police Headquarters on Friday, 16 July.
The report states that the Sarawak Electricity Board suffered a loss of RM 8.4 million (about Rs 14.89 crore) due to electricity theft by bitcoin miners. The police chief told The Star that those arrested for power theft have been fined up to 8,000 RM (about Rs 1.41 lakh) and jailed for up to eight months.
Electricity theft is a major issue in areas where bitcoin is mined as some miners use illegal means to secure the power supplies needed to make huge profits from cryptocurrency mining. Due to the additional strain on the electricity grid, authorities often have to resort to load sharing resulting in regular outages.
As of July 20 (2:36 PM IST), the price of bitcoin in India was Rs 22.23 lakh.