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Cryptocurrencies have always been surrounded by controversy because of how easy they make for manipulative individuals to take advantage of the system and investors. This is one of the main reasons why mainstream markets and industries have never taken cryptocurrencies too seriously (at least not yet). However, every time a new fraud or con is uncovered, it still baffles the authorities. The latest story about a crypto scam includes fake doll shops and internet cafes, electricity theft and a team of electrical engineers. Yup.
A Bitcoin miner is Taiwan was arrested and charged for mining 100 million yuan in crypto using around $15 million in stolen electricity. The man was accused of setting up 17 different storefronts across Taiwan in order to run his mining operations.
Yang, the electricity thief miner would rent a store in a building and set up a phony storefront to mimic an internet café or a doll shop. He would then hire electricians to rewire the power supply of the building to redirect it to his store where he would utilize the stolen electricity to power his mining machines. The electric meters were altered so the bill would not be charged to his stores.
“The group recruited electricians who managed to break into the sealed meters in order to add in private lines to use electricity for free before that usage reaches the meters,” said Wang Zhicheng, the deputy head of Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau. The scam was uncovered after Taiwan’s state-owned electricity company, Taiwan Power, had to investigate a faulty power supply in one of the 17 fake stores.
This incident is not contained in itself; in fact, electricity theft for crypto mining is a rising problem in China. Just in April this year, Chinese police confiscated 600 Bitcoin mining computers in one of the largest cases of power theft in years in China. The Chinese government has carried out several crackdowns against the growing problem; however, it continues to lift its head back up every few months.