15 Chinese Made USD 20M With Illegal Crypto Mining Scheme - Report
Fifteen suspects were arrested in south-central China, the city of Henyang, for stealing electricity from Internet cafes to mine cryptocurrency. The scheme reportedly involved bribing nearly 9,000 computer administrators and earned c. USD 20 million during the period of 24 months, reports Chinese local news outlet CCTV.
The suspected gang operated as advertising and value-added business with a hidden crypto mining activity. The company’s head with a surname Zhang used to approach internet cafe administrators privately and asked them to install his company’s miningware in return for a share of mining profits, according to the report. The scheme allegedly ran from June 2017 to July 2019.
Reportedly, Zhang is a computer science graduate who discovered “hot” cryptocurrency market at the end of 2016. After reaching a consensus on mining with his partners, soon he and his team developed the mining software.
While the investigation is still ongoing, illegal stealing of electricity to mine cryptocurrencies is nothing new. For instance, last month in Ukraine, South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant employees were caught connecting the power plant to the internet in order to mine cryptocurrencies, as reported by ZDNet.com. Besides, the Ukrainian Secret Service also seized additional mining equipment from the National Guard units barracks, who were meant to guard the power plant.
In a similar case from 2018, scientists from the Russian nuclear center were arrested for using the nuclear plant's supercomputer to mine crypto. In other cases, employees of the Ministry of Finance in Kazakhstan have been suspected of downloading mining programs on the extensive internal government computer network in an attempt to profit from mining. In June 2019, a Chinese Bitcoin miner was caught stealing electricity from an oil well, and in May, even a 61-year old Chinese grandmother was sentenced for four months in prison for mining Bitcoin using stolen electricity.