Spain on the hunt for illegal miners – Bitcoin (BTC) mining is both a controversial activity, due to its energy requirements, but also very profitable. It has become a favorite playground for criminals, who do not hesitate to tarnish the image of the cryptosphere. To address this, Spanish authorities have stepped up their efforts to shut down the activities of an illegal BTC farm.
Illegal BTC mining is on the rise
While mining bitcoin is not an illegal activity per se, it becomes one when it leads to the illegal hijacking of power grids. The objective for these miners is naturally to reduce energy costs.
Indeed, when we look at the formula for calculating the cost of BTC mining, it is easy to understand that by removing the variable of the cost of electricity, the mining activity becomes a real boon for those who manage to profit from it.
In July 2021, police in Ukraine dismantled a mining farm consisting of nearly 9,000 computer processors(graphics cards and video game consoles). The mining farm was cutting its costs by thousands of euros each month, by diverting electricity and tampering with electricity meters.
In another example mentioned in the introduction, in the United Kingdom, when police thought they were uncovering an illegal cannabis farm, they found an intensive Bitcoin mining farm. Finally, Iran has also dismantled about 50 illegal mining sites on its territory.
Spain does not escape the authorities
This August, it was in Toledo, Spain, that the national police dismantled a cryptocurrency mining farm, whose equipment was illegally connected to the region’s power grid
According to the Spanish National Police’s statement
on August 20 on Twitter:
“We broke up an illegal cryptocurrency mining farm in a villa located in Toledo. It had over 100 processors running and cooling and smoke and heat extraction equipment. The farm was operated through an illegal connection to the electrical system.”
Spanish National Police release – Source: Twitter
As in the UK, law enforcement was alerted by the unusual and repeated heat emissions as well as the excessive consumption of electricity by this villa. Prior to the search, the Spanish intervention brigade thought they were dismantling a cannabis deal because of the similar heat readings. According to the authorities’ quick estimates, this mining farm generated thousands of euros in lost revenue for the electric utility.
This latest seizure in Spain may be the beginning of a long line of seizures in a country where electricity prices have been at their highest this summer. Although BTC mining is now only formally rejected in China –
much to the
– it would not be surprising to see other countries severely regulate this activity, should these fraudulent uses become widespread.
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