Authorities and power plants in various Russian regions have shut down illegal cryptomining farms, seized hardware and taken operators to court. The action against the mints comes amid discussions about a proposal to introduce criminal liability for miners who breach the upcoming legislation for the industry.
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‘Underground’ crypto mining farms shut down across Russia
Police and power providers have uncovered and dismantled illegal crypto mining installations in Siberia and southern Russia, local crypto news reported this week, citing authorities. In one of the cases, the organizers of a mining enterprise are accused of having stolen large amounts of electricity.
Rosseti North Caucasus employees found a fairly large improvised mining farm in the Shpakovsky district of Stavropol Krai. Along with law enforcement, they confiscated 66 ASIC miners, the region’s electric power company announced Friday.
A resident of the village of Nadezhda, who placed the equipment in his house and connected it to the grid, may now be criminally liable for operating the underground facility. Power engineers have estimated that it burned 954,000 kWh of electricity for over 6 million rubles ($78,000).
A similar installation was discovered in the attic of a school in the city of Shelekhov, Irkutsk Oblast, when police responded to a report from the local power plant about unusually high power consumption and noise from the roof of the building. Officers seized 25 mining devices installed by the school’s electrician and a friend of his who was an IT specialist.
Such cases are quite common in the Siberian region, called the mining capital of Russia, where many people mine in basements, garages and cottages, trying to make money by using subsidized electricity in residential areas. According to a report in February, over 1,000 lawsuits have been filed against crypto miners back home in Irkutsk.
This week, the prosecutor’s office in Tomsk, another Siberian oblast, announced that it has approved the indictment in a criminal case against seven local residents who organized to illegally connect several premises with cryptomining equipment to the network. They are accused of causing damage to the power supplier to the tune of an estimated 24 million rubles (over $310,000).
The latest examples of Russian authorities cracking down on unauthorized mining come as lawmakers and government officials prepare to introduce a revised bill designed to regulate the activity. Changes that introduce criminal liability and severe penalties for so-called “gray” miners who evade taxes sparked reactions from the crypto industry.
Do you think the Russian government will continue to crack down on underground crypto miners? Share your thoughts on the topic in the comments section below.
Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’ quote: “To be a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.
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