Taoyuan Man Stole Electricity to Mine Bitcoin

taiwan bitcoin
A man in Taoyuan was arrested for stealing electricity to mine Bitcoin. Photo by Tim Reckmann via Flickr Creative Commons

Mining cryptocurrency like Bitcoin requires large amounts of electricity to run servers and associated devices. One bitcoin transaction requires 300 KWh of electricity, according to a 2017 report in The Guardian, making mining for the cryptocurrency less profitable. But one Taiwanese man thought he had found a way around the cost of electricity to increase profit.

Police arrested a man on June 4; they allege the 25-year-old plumber and electrician in Taoyuan had tapped into Taipower’s public electrical grid to essentially gain electricity to run his Bitcoin mining operation and increase profit, Apple Daily reported. The man, surnamed Lin, reportedly set up more than a hundred computers in his apartment in May in order to mine Bitcoin.

After Taipower noticed abnormal activity in the area around Zhongzheng Rd., the national power provider sent in a team to investigate and was joined by local police. They discovered a camouflaged switch box above Mr. Lin’s door to hide the three split cables providing his apartment with electricity.

The man was caught stealing electricity after only two weeks. Police found 124 desktop computers, Wi-Fi routers, laptops, and other devices used in Lin’s operation. They claim he made a total profit of about NT$100,000 (US$3,190). However, Taipower is set to impose a fine of NT$5.5 million for the illegal operation.

Bitcoin is currently trading at about $7,700. Electricity rates in Taiwan for most residents are less than NT$5 per KWh, though for a Bitcoin mining operation the cost would be close to NT$7 per KWh.

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