One of the biggest problems in today’s crypto world is missing digital currencies. Hackers go after exchanges and steal clients’ funds. In fact, Japan is now looking to tighten up its regulations on crypto exchanges for the reason that it wants to avoid another Coincheck scandal.
However, rarely do we hear news about stolen mining hardware. But in Iceland, it wasn’t just one or two mining hardware stolen by thieves. In fact, an Iceland-based miner lost 600 Bitcoin machines. According to reports, that is worth around $2 million.
The good news is that there’s a lead as to where the mining equipment is located. It is possible that these machines are in China. Chinese authorities confiscated 600 mining computers after detecting an unusually high electricity consumption in the area. After this, Icelandic police inquired regarding the confiscated mining computers.
According to Chinese news agency, this could’ve been the “largest power theft case in recent years”. Though the heist didn’t happen all at once from the data center, Icelandic officials believe that there is a correlation between the confiscated mining machines to the stolen equipment lost in the towns of Reykjanes and Borgarbyggd between December 2017 and January 2018.
According to police chief Helgi Kjartansson in March 2018, “This is grand theft on a scale unseen before. Everything points to this being a highly organized crime”. According to the security operatives, they have purposely delayed reporting this incident to news outlets mainly to stop the criminals from moving quickly.
Ever since the machines were lost, the owner of the machine provided a reward of $60,000 for anyone who can give a useful lead that can help in recovering the systems.
So who is exactly behind this scheme to steal hundreds of mining devices? The number one suspect was Sindri Thor Stefansson. Stefansson was able to escape via a window in a low-security Sogn prison on April 17. He boarded the same flight with Iceland’s prime minister to Sweden on April 19. In order to escape authorities, the suspect used another passport. According to police chief Gunnar Schram, “he had an accomplice. We are sure of that”.
After the escape, he sent a letter to authorities saying that there is no substantial evidence against him. He mentioned in the letter that “I simply refuse to be in prison of my own will, especially when the police threaten to arrest me without explanation”. He was later rearrested by Dutch authorities by the end of April 2018. However, over $2 million worth of Bitcoin mining equipment is still not yet found.
Iceland As The Primary Choice for Miners
Mining is a growing industry in Iceland. With its cold weather and favorable crypto-friendly policies, it is not surprising whey a lot of miners choose this country. Using the country’s geothermal and hydroelectric power not to mention it is only used by 340,000 people, it seems that Iceland is the new hotspot for mining cryptocurrencies.
Will the Bitcoin mining gear ever be recovered soon? Is it possible that the ones found in China are the same Bitcoin mining gear lost in Iceland?