More than 600 Crypto miners arrested in Malaysia for robbery

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

To combat power crisis, Malaysian authorities have started looking around for illegal crypto-mining hubs. Usually the power networks are overloaded in the areas where crypto-mining is a regular business.

Malaysia’s electric utility company called the Tenaga National Berhad (TNB) has joined hands with the country’s criminal investigation department, or Jabatan Siasatan Jenayah (JSJ), to destroy illegal crypto-mining rings operating in the country, a report by the Malaysian news agency Bernama said.

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

The public of the Southeast Asian nation was further advised to inform police authorities about any suspicious crypto-mining activities they may have noticed in their area.

After China banned crypto-activity last year, crypto-mining has picked up pace in other countries such as Iran, Kazakhstan, as well as Russia.

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

In February 2021, the Texas State Electricity Board found itself on the receiving end of criticism for power mismanagement, leading to outages and days of no heat to sustain the winter. Hundreds of people lost their lives in Texas during the winters due to lack of heat, a CNBC report said in January.

Bitcoin miners were active in Texas, causing disruptions in the electricity distribution there. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has predicted a fivefold increase in energy charges over the next two years.

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

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