During a May 18 raid in the UK, West Midlands Police hoped to find a cannabis-growing operation after learning of a site that had stolen electricity on the Great Bridge Industrial Estate. Instead, they found about 100 computers mining cryptocurrency.
The BBC reports that detectives received a notice prior to the raid. Viewers said they saw many people coming to the site throughout the day and police drones picked up too much heat coming from the building – usually a sign of increased operation. Western Power Distribution also found that the site was illegally connected to its grid, leading to the theft of “thousands of pounds” [worth of] of electricity.”
“It had all the characteristics of cannabis cultivation, and I believe this is only the second such crypto mine we’ve encountered in the West Midlands,” Sergeant. Jennifer Griffin said. Authorities seized the computers but did not make any arrests.
Crypto-mining operations are becoming a problem not only in the UK, but worldwide. In 2018, New York allowed some electricity providers to start charging higher fees from crypto miners. In March 2021, New York introduced a bill that would ban mining for three years while the state assessed its environmental impact.
These measures have come in response to the growing climate problem surrounding mining coins such as Ethereum. Some scientists say the increasing demand for cryptocurrencies has already negated the effects of the use of electric vehicles.
Recent reports suggest that some mining operations contribute more than $ 20,000 per month, and Nvidia, whose GPU is often at the heart of these mining operations, earns more than $ 400 million each year from crypto miners .
It is not just private operations, either. One of Russia’s largest oil producers set up a bitcoin mining farm in Siberia last year that is completely powered by gas.
As the price of many cryptocurrencies has reached an all-time high, we are still not sure whether demand will continue to increase in terms of electricity and coins. With volatility in currencies such as bitcoin, some investors feel that the market is showing a recurrence of 2014 and 2018, where high volatility led to a large sell-off and devaluation of the coin.
Regardless, it seems that the police should not worry only about cannabis fields when it comes to stolen electricity.