When authorities in Malaysia said they were crushing illegal cryptocurrency miners, they actually meant it — literally.
In a video that went viral, Malaysia police — operating a steamroller — flattened 1,069 crypto mining machines that had been operating on stolen electricity, local media Dayak Daily reported.
Police in Miri, a city on the northwest coast of the island of Borneo, had seized the Bitcoin mining machines — which were worth about MYR5.3 million, or about US$1.26 million — during six raids that took place from February to April this year, according to the report.
Eight people were arrested during the raids, and all of the premises involved were found to have stolen power from local electricity utility provider Sarawak Energy Berhad to mine cryptocurrency, leading to a loss of MYR8.4 million, or US$1.99 million for the energy company, according to Mini District Police Chief ACP Hakemal Hawari, as reported by local media.
The Bitcoin mining equipment wipeout marks Malaysian authorities’ latest crackdown on illegal crypto mining.
Just last month, four people were arrested and over 400 Bitcoin mining machines were seized in the Malaysian city of George Town, on the island of Penang, following a series of police raids on seven premises. Electricity company Tenaga Nasional Berhad said that it had lost around MYR420,000, or about US$99,500 worth of electricity as a result of the alleged theft.
In April, Malaysia took up 3.4% of global Bitcoin hashrate share, down from 5.2% in January and 4.3% in April 2020, according to the latest data from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.
Meanwhile, China’s hashrate share dropped to 46% in April from 64.8% in the same period last year, the data showed. In contrast, the United States saw a spike in its hashrate share, recording 16.8% in April this year, compared to only 7.2% in April last year.
Kazakhstan also saw an expanding hashrate share. The country accounted for 8.2% of global Bitcoin’s hashrate in April, up from 6.2% in the same period last year, according to Cambridge data.
The hashrate distribution changes reflect the ongoing exodus of crypto miners in China who are looking to migrate their operation to other jurisdictions that are more welcoming toward the industry. Among their destinations, some early favorites for Bitcoin miners include Kazakhstan, North America and Northern Europe.