Two Years, 600 Arrests: Malaysia Rounds Up Crypto Miners Stealing Power for Illegal Operations

Bitcoin mining reportedly consumes 0.5 percent of all electricity used globally and seven times of Google's total usage

Two Years, 600 Arrests: Malaysia Rounds Up Crypto Miners Stealing Power for Illegal Operations

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Malaysia has joined Iran, Kazakhstan, and China on identifying and busting illegal crypto mining

  • Malaysia aims to fix power woes by busting crypto mining
  • While crypto mining is not illegal in Malaysia, stealing power is
  • Crypto mining consumes large amounts of power, disrupting supply

The power-intensive process of crypto mining has emerged as a worrisome subject for several governments around the world. In recently released statistics, Malaysian authorities claimed to have arrested 627 people since 2020, for stealing electricity to power their crypto mining operations. Crypto mining equipment worth MYR 69.8 million (roughly Rs. 125 crore) has also been confiscated by the Malaysian police in the last two years. Cryptocurrencies are mined or generated after solving complex algorithms on advanced computers, and the process is infamous for its high-power requirement.

In order to combat power crisis, Malaysian authorities began looking around for illegal crypto mining hubs. Usually, the power grids get overloaded in the areas where crypto mining is a regular affair.

Malaysia's electric utility company called the Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) joined hands with the country's Criminal Investigation Department, or Jabatan Siasatan Jenayah (JSJ), to bust illegal crypto mining rings operating within the the nation, a report by Malaysian news agency Bernama said.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani has warned Malaysian citizens to be careful while subletting their properties to potential tenants.

The public of the southeast Asian nation has further been advised to inform police authorities about any suspicious crypto mining activities that they may have noticed in their surroundings.

After China banned crypto activities last year, crypto mining picked up pace in other countries like Iran, Kazakhstan, as well as Russia.

As a result, the number of power outages in several regions of these countries increased in recent times, causing major inconvenience to the common people.

In February 2021, the electricity board of US' Texas state found itself on the receiving end of criticism for mismanaging power supply, leading to blackouts and no heat for days to sustain the winter. Hundreds of people lost their lives in Texas during the winters due to lack of heat, a CNBC report had said in January.

Bitcoin miners have been active in Texas, causing disruptions in the electricity distribution there. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has foreseen a five-fold increment in energy loads in the next two years.

The process of Bitcoin mining consumes 0.5 percent of all electricity used globally and seven times of Google's total usage, a report by the New York Times had claimed last year.

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Radhika Parashar
Radhika Parashar is a senior correspondent for Gadgets 360. She has been reporting on tech and telecom for the last three years now and will be focussing on writing about all things crypto. Besides this, she is a major sitcom nerd and often replies in Chandler Bing and Michael Scott references. For tips or queries you could reach out to her at More
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