Police In China Seize 600 Bitcoin Mining Rigs In Major Crackdown Against Power Theft

Police In China Seize 600 Bitcoin Mining Rigs In Major Crackdown Against Power TheftA bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong (Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images)

Months after the Chinese government announced that it would limit power consumption by cryptocurrency miners and coerce them to exit the business, several groups shifted their mining operations abroad. However, a few of them still do operate out of China, mostly underground to avoid being caught.

Police officials in Tianjin said that on Tuesday (24 April), they had confiscated close to 600 mining rigs and high-end cooling equipment in the city after the local power company complained of unusual consumption patterns. At its peak, there was 28 per cent power loss, leading to it being called the biggest case of power theft in the recent past by the police. Investigators say that the miners might have attempted to avoid paying for the electricity by short-circuiting the electricity meter.

The Central Bank of China had earlier said that it had the power to regulate the use of power by cryptocurrency miners due to the high volumes of electricity consumption. Due to the country’s prominence as an electronics manufacturer, it was a haven for cryptocurrency miners till the government shut down domestic exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs).