Malaysian Authorities Destroy More Than 1,000 BTC Mining Rigs

Divya  |  Jul 19, 2021

According to local media reports, Malaysian authorities demolished 1,069 Bitcoin(BTC) mining rigs seized between February and April with a steamroller. The machines, estimated to be worth $1.2 million, were destroyed at the headquarters of the Miri district police, which has arrested 8 people for their involvement with illegal crypto mining activities.

Malaysian Authorities Crushed 1,069 BTC Miners

Between February and April, the police conducted a joint operation in the northwestern city of Miri, with the region’s power supplier Sarawak Energy Berhad(SEB). Consequently, the two uncovered illegal crypto mining operations and equipment worth 5.3 million Malaysian ringgits ($1.26 million). The rigs were reportedly using stolen electricity from the SEB, which suffered losses worth $2 million.

At the end of its proceedings, the Miri police confirmed that it had apprehended 8 individuals for illegally mining cryptocurrencies. Police chief Hakemal Hawari issued a statement saying that  "A total of six people have been successfully charged under Section 379 of the Penal Code for electricity theft and have been fined up to RM8,000 ($1,900) and jailed for up to eight months."
He further added, “The electricity theft for mining bitcoin activities has caused frequent power outages and in 2021, three houses were razed due to illegal electricity supply connections.”

This isn’t Malaysia’s first crackdown on crypto mining. Last year, the country’s law enforcement arrested four individuals, who had also stolen electricity from the SEB to run mining operations. The miners involved in that incident cheated their power meters and stole energy worth more than $59,000 per month.

Malaysian Action Against Crypto Mining Unprecedented

As far as mining bans and regulations are concerned, Malaysia’s destruction of BTC miners is unprecedented. Many countries have adopted a hard stance on the matter recently, but none of them have gone as far as the Malaysian authorities. Countries like Iran, Turkey, and others that have banned or restricted crypto mining and ordered raids against operations have mainly resorted to imprisonment, penalties, and seizure of equipment.

Mining rigs are specialized computers designed to generate cryptocurrencies. There is a high demand for these machines and as a result, their resale value is also significant. So, it’s obvious that most authorities auction these machines or extract their parts for resale. For instance, in February, Chinese authorities auctioned more than 2,000 rigs that had been confiscated during an investigation. 

Clearly, Malaysian authorities are making an example out of the latest incident. Yet, it's baffling that they chose to destroy the seized equipment instead of deriving some value from it.

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