Indonesian authorities have taken action against 10 Bitcoin mining operations, shutting them down on charges of electricity theft totaling nearly $1 million. The North Sumatra Police confiscated 1,134 Bitcoin mining machines across multiple locations, accusing organizers of tampering with electrical circuits to power the extensive mining operation. The Chief of North Sumatra Police, Irjen Agung Setya Imam Effendi, revealed that the electricity flow in the operations was diverted, leading to an estimated loss of 14.4 billion Indonesian rupiahs (approximately $935,666). This move reflects an ongoing global concern about unauthorized power usage in the cryptocurrency mining sector.
In a similar development in China, a government official, Yi Xiao, was sentenced to life in prison for facilitating electricity access to a Bitcoin mining enterprise. Xiao, a former vice chairman of the Jiangxi Provincial Political Consultative Conference Party Group, operated a $329 million Bitcoin mining enterprise, Jiumu Group Genesis Technology, from 2017 to 2021. The enterprise, which accumulated over 160,000 Bitcoin miners, reportedly consumed 10% of the city of Fuzhou’s entire electricity supply. These actions in both Indonesia and China underscore a broader effort to curb electricity theft associated with cryptocurrency mining activities.
The crackdown on unauthorized power consumption in the crypto mining industry is part of a global trend, with governments increasingly taking measures to regulate and control the environmental impact and energy usage of such operations. As Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies gain popularity, ensuring responsible and legal energy consumption becomes a priority for authorities worldwide. The cases in Indonesia and China reflect the growing scrutiny on the environmental and regulatory aspects of cryptocurrency mining, signaling a shift towards sustainable practices within the industry.