Bitcoin mining, and cryptocurrency mining for that matter, has long been a rather pressing issue to both miners and utility companies. Often, enthusiastic miners have gone to great lengths to provide the necessary resources to maintain their venture, but it’s not as often that they can afford to foot the bill.
This is precisely what happened when authorities in China have arrested a suspect who has been allegedly stealing electricity to maintain the power grid he used to mine bitcoin and ether. Police forces in Anhui Province launched an operation apprehending the suspect and seizing over 200 computers.
The suspect was caught as the local utility company had noticed unusual spikes in its grid, Xinhua news agency reported. The culprit, identified only as Ma, has managed to hog an impressive amount of electricity to the total tune of 150,000 kW hours of electricity. The theft occurred between April and May 2018.
Ma had had the means to purchase the hardware on their own but had failed to foot the running costs which soared to little over $921 a day. This has not been the first time a Chinese miner has been arrested in the country. More such cases have been reported all throughout China. Nevertheless, the misdeed of Ma seems to be one of the largest thefts from the public grid on record.
The Problem of Proof of Work
At the beginning of the year, Medium published an article arguing the theoretical possibility that the power required to mine Bitcoin can power a country of the size of Denmark. It was a valid concern to raise and one that strikes heart in the common problems of cryptocurrencies today.
Beyond a certain point, mining becomes so unsustainable as to cost more than the potential benefits. If we pay a closer attention to Bitcoin, we will immediately see that one of the possible scenarios for the end of Bitcoin is one that simply stipulates the inability of miners to generate enough power to produce new tokens and thus never reaching the pre-determined cap.
Even more worryingly yet, because the cost of mining a single bitcoin has already risen to $10,000 in certain parts of the world, including Hawaii according to a Forbes report, miners are increasingly turning to malware that is installed on large swathes of computers to aid the miners whereas owners remain unaware.
With 17 million of the 21 million cap of Bitcoin already mined, the costs are only slated to go up and hence the practices that seek to facilitate the process and slash the costs are continuously falling outside the legally-accepted methods.
It’s small wonder then that China has, in fact, stepped up its efforts in a decisive bid to eradicate all crypt-mining activities. The apprehension of illegal miners who steal grid power and expect to go unpunished is just stepped one.
As the noose tightens around crypto enthusiasts in China, so the country is pushing ahead with its own brand of the national token, which will send ripples across the entirety of the financial system.