A major electricity theft has been busted in several raids in Malaysia. The perpetrators were manufacturing the cryptocurrency Bitcoin on a large scale. This process has a very high energy consumption, which led the perpetrators to obtain the electricity illegally.
Bitcoin is still the best known and most popular cryptocurrency on the market. It can either be bought or produced by the user. The production, which runs via the processor of the graphics card, is called mining. According to the computer magazine “PC-Welt”, this involves adding more blocks to the Bitcoin blockchain. Afterwards, the miners receive a reward in the form of bitcoins. One disadvantage of mining: the high power consumption. No wonder that one or the other Bitcoin producer supplies his PC with illegal electricity. In Malaysia, this electricity theft was uncovered in several raids at the beginning of the year.
Prison sentence for electricity thieves
According to the Malaysian daily “The Star”, police seized 1,069 computers and arrested eight people. The suspects allegedly mined Bitcoin with illegally obtained electricity, according to reports. The police raids were carried out in cooperation with the concerned energy company Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB). The electricity theft is said to have cost SEB 1.7 million euros. In addition, there had been repeated power cuts. The computer systems that have now been seized, with a value of more than one million euros, were easily destroyed by the Malaysian police with a roller. Furthermore, six of the eight people arrested have already been sentenced to a fine and eight months in prison.
Bitcoin as a climate killer
Illegally obtained electricity can thus not only result in a prison sentence but also lead to life-threatening situations. According to the police in the Malaysian district of Miri, three houses burned down this year due to self-installed electricity connections. Because of this, the police and the power company SEB want to continue to monitor mining processes more closely and take action against them if necessary.
Due to the immense amount of electricity it takes to produce cryptocurrencies, the process has come under increasing criticism. According to the online magazine “Tech & Nature”, Bitcoin, in particular, is the most environmentally harmful compared to other coins. According to “greenpeace magazine”, it consumes 116.12 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, about as much as the Arab Emirates. If Bitcoin were also a state, it would be among the 30 most electricity-intensive countries in the world. However, environmentally friendly alternatives are already being offered. For example, some cryptocurrencies already rely on renewable energy or use processes that require only a fraction of the energy input. Plus, only those proof-of-work digital assets, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin, for example, require such tremendous amounts of energy for their production. Many alternative cryptocurrencies do not require energy-intensive mining but are created in different manners.
Therefore, it is obvious that cryptocurrencies and altcoins to Bitcoin will likely have a bright future. Many of those altcoins beat BTC or Ether in energy efficiency as well as cost, speed, and scalability.