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Russia: Illegal Crypto Miner ‘Stole $225,000 From Grid’

An illicit cryptocurrency miner in Russia has been accused of causing significant harm to a local power grid and pilfering approximately $225,000 worth of electricity, according to allegations made by a power provider.

According to the Russian legal publication Pravo, this miner purportedly siphoned electricity from the grid in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, situated in the Sakhalin Oblast within the Russian Far East.

The power provider, Sakhalinenergo, stated that its employees uncovered an illicitly connected transformer substation within the premises of a construction firm. This miner’s activities led to substantial damage to the provider’s infrastructure, as reported by the media outlet.

The energy provider revealed that the miner hooked up an undisclosed quantity of cryptocurrency mining equipment straight to the power grid. This equipment was stored within two container units.

The miner is accused of unlawfully linking a transformer substation, with a power of 1250 kVA, to Sakhalinenergo’s networks.

According to the company, the cumulative capacity of this equipment approximated “around 4 million kW/h.”

It’s alleged that the miner sidestepped the metering mechanisms and failed to report their mining activities.

The miner seems to have successfully mined cryptocurrencies on the site without detection for an extended duration.

According to the power provider, the mining operation ran “from December 2021 to May 2022.”

Authorities have initiated a criminal investigation against the individual in question.

The individual was indicted for “inflicting property damage on an especially vast scale.”

Property belonging to the accused miner has been confiscated.

Russian Energy Firms Fighting Back Against Illegal Crypto Miners?

The incidence of illicit mining is escalating in Russia. However, it seems energy providers are becoming increasingly vigilant, spotting individuals attempting to evade meter readings and illicitly siphon electricity from community grids.

In the cryptocurrency mining hub of Irkutsk, RBC disclosed the previous month that energy corporations had pinpointed 430 instances of presumed electricity theft attributable to unauthorized crypto miners.

These companies estimate that miners pilfered electricity valued at around $3.3 million.

Highlighting the extent of this clandestine activity, the media source mentioned:

“Undocumented crypto farms were unearthed in various places within the region, including private residences, garages, balconies, apartment building basements, and astonishingly, even in the attic of a mental health facility.”

Meanwhile, in the Russian Republic of Dagestan, RBC stated in August that unauthorized miners allegedly pilfered electricity valued at “234,000” during “the first half of 2023.”

Comparable episodes have emerged elsewhere. Ukraine faced a similar situation late the previous year, and an incident was documented in China in 2021.

Earlier in the year, local analysts asserted that Russia was on the trajectory to becoming a prominent “crypto mining hotspot.”

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Cryptocurrency is essentially virtual money that operates in a decentralized manner, not through a bank but directly on multiple independent computers.

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