Police in Iceland are following a heist that involved the loss of about 600 computers that were being used to mine bitcoin. The servers were stolen in December and January. The servers were stolen from centres Borgarnes on Iceland’s west coast and Reykjanesbær, near Reykjavik airport.
The computers may have ended up in China
Chinese police have now announced that they have seized 600 Bitcoin mining rigs in the Tianjin. This is the same number of the computers that were stolen in what came to be known as Iceland’s ‘Big Bitcoin Heist’. The arrest came after the Bitcoin mining farm that had been set caused a short circuit on the electricity and it is believed they were stealing electricity. Additionally, authorities reported power loss by 28% on one of the lines, a move that prompted investigations.
Chinese police has said that it is holding people for questioning and facilitating in further investigations. Additionally, two Iceland nationals are also being held and are highly suspected of behind the theft. This is according to a police spokesperson in charge of south-west Iceland.
The biggest heist in history happened when Sindri Thor Stefansson led a group to break into a bitcoin mining facility and stole 600 ASICs used in mining. Stefansson was later jailed but managed to escape from prison and fled to Sweden, aboard the same plane with the Prime Minister of Iceland. He was arrested by Dutch police in Amsterdam.
Increased power consumption
If the illegal operation was not stopped in time, it would have led to hundreds of thousands of Chinese yuan every month in power bills. It would have become the biggest power theft case. Every year, bitcoin mining accounts for 65 TWh of electricity consumption worldwide. This is the same amount of power used to power Czech Republic in one month.
Police in Iceland had been following any leads in increased or abnormal spike in power consumption with hopes of recovering the stolen computers. This was the only lead that police could rely on to track the gigs. The police was working on assumption that the culprits would use the machines to mine bitcoin instead of selling them.