Authorities in Ukraine and Russia have shut down several illegal crypto mining facilities allegedly powered by stolen electricity. The underground farms have been discovered around the capital cities, Kyiv and Moscow, as well as in the Russian republic of Dagestan.
Russia Busts Illegal Mining Farms in Moscow area and Dagestan
Russian law enforcement and customs agents have recently discovered the theft of a large amount of electricity from the network operated by Rossetti in Moscow Oblast, the region adjacent to Russia’s capital. Tass broke the news about the operation this week, quoting Ekaterina Korotkova from the Moscow Interregional Transport Prosecutor’s Office. The official explained:
An audit showed an unauthorized connection to the power grid, theft of electricity, and illegal seizure of land for the operation of equipment designed to perform cryptographic calculations related to the mining of digital currencies.
According to Korotkova, the cost of illegally utilized electricity used to operate the mining hardware surpasses 500,000 rubles per day (almost $7,000). The government has opened a criminal investigation and seeks to prosecute the coin minting facility’s owners.
In Dagestan, a Russian region in the North Caucasus, two cryptocurrency farms were also uncovered. The Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper announced in late November that a significant mining operation had been discovered in a hilly region. According to preliminary investigation findings, its unknown operators have inflicted estimated damages of 1 million rubles (about $13,000).
Local authorities also discovered a mining operation in Botlikh district where miners were illegally connected to the grid. The crypto farm had been built up since November, according to a report by Forklog citing Dagestan’s interior ministry, and was controlled by a 35-year-old Dakhadayevsky district resident who stole power worth 257,000 rubles (around $3,500).
The Russian Federation’s “On Digital Financial Assets” law, which took effect in January, regulates several crypto-related operations, but cryptocurrency mining is not part of them. This year, officials in Moscow have been calling for the business to be recognized as an entrepreneurial activity and taxed accordingly.
Ukraine’s Kyiv Region has uncovered an underground crypto farm
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) stated on Friday that an illegal mining site had been seen in Kyiv Oblast. Three local citizens have planted several ASICs in a hangar they rented in the Buchansky area of the region surrounding the capital, according to Ukraine’s leading law enforcement agency. They are accused of wasting 3.5 million hryvnias (about $128,000) on electricity.
In recent years, the surging popularity of cryptocurrencies has pushed Ukraine to the forefront of acceptance, and the government has taken efforts to legalize “virtual assets.” Bitcoin mining is not prohibited, although it is not yet regulated. The SBU has been pursuing miners who take advantage of the country’s electrical supply network this year, shutting down several crypto farms across the country, including a major data center in central Ukraine last month.