Iceland’s 600 Stolen Bitcoin Mining Machines Might Be In China
Earlier this year, three burglaries took place in three data centers in Iceland. What was stolen were a staggering number of bitcoin mining machines which just vanished.
Reports estimate that over 600 machines which possessed a significant amount of mining power had disappeared and a search for them commenced.
The search for these bitcoin machines has been very extensive.
The latest update about them has turned up a surprising twist to the saga – that these machines may have ended up in China. On May 5, RUV, an Icelandic media outlet has reported that the Icelandic police have issued an inquiry to Chinese authorities. This was a result of a report in late April which stated that the Chinese had seized around 600 Bitcoin mining devices in the Chinese city of Tianjin.
Icelandic police had earlier arrested two individuals who had ties to the burglary. One of these suspects managed to escape from an Icelandic prison and has fled to Sweden. Icelandic authorities have issued an international arrest warrant.
The burglary resulted in missing equipment that is estimated to cost around 200 million Kronur, around $2 million in US dollars. This was one of the reasons why the media labeled it as the ‘Big Bitcoin Heist‘. Icelandic police tried to hunt down the perpetrators by checking the energy consumption in the various regions in Iceland but never had a lot of success. They did this because Bitcoin mining is one of the most energy-intensive industries right now, with all miners running at full throttle to “mine” Bitcoin.
On the other hand, the fluctuations in energy usage in Tianjin resulted in the confiscation of these bitcoin machines. A local grid operator noticed the higher energy draw and notified the authorities. It is now considered the biggest incidence of power theft in China right now. This led to the confiscation of these 600 bitcoin machines. However, the Chinese have not yet responded to the inquiries raised by Iceland.
Bitcoin Mining Thriving In Iceland
Iceland is one of the world’s havens for crypto miners. This is mainly due to the combination of the cold climate and the large scale access to renewable energy thanks to geothermal and hydroelectric power plants in the country. This lowers the electrical costs for mining greatly, which increased the margin for profit for bitcoin miners. Experts predict that Iceland’s energy consumption will actually double in 2018 thanks to bitcoin mining.
China is another Bitcoin mining haven. This is thanks to the country’s strong supply of cheap electricity. There are a number of areas in China that have free electricity because of hydroelectric power. However, the authorities are now monitoring sudden spikes in energy consumption and rogue bitcoin miners will be under a lot more pressure.