- Ukrainian authorities unearthed an illegal crypto mining operation.
- The illegal crypto mining operation was run with 5,000 computers (including 3800 PS4 consoles), 500 graphics cards, and 50 processing units.
- The electricity theft by the illegal crypto mining farm resulted in losses between $186,200 and $259,300 per month to the state.
In a facility located on the erstwhile premises of the electricity supply company JSC Vinnytsiaoblenergo, an allegedly illegal crypto mining farm was unearthed by the Ukrainian authorities.
Reportedly, the illegal miners were clandestinely running their operations, tampering with electricity meters to fetch power unlawfully from JSC Vinnytsiaoblenergo.
The Scale of the Illicit Mining Operations
The scale of the operations was surprisingly huge, as found by the Ukraine Security Service. The police termed it the largest underground mining operation with the deployment of around 5,000 computers, 500 graphics cards, and 50 processing units. Out of these 5,000 computers, 3,800 were PlayStation 4 consoles. Among other materials secured, there were notebooks, phones, and flash drives. The farm was stealing electricity to run this huge network.
It would be relevant to mention in this context that Sony’s PlayStation4 is not an ideal rig for crypto mining. Several mining rigs available these days in the market can outperform Sony’s console. The need for illegally fetching electricity might have stemmed from PS4’s inefficiency in generating substantial returns from legally available electricity. According to crypto mining experts, even a 16-console PS4 setup would fail to offer the service required to produce meaningful returns from the usual quantum of electricity supply.
The Scale of Electricity Theft
According to the Security Service of Ukraine, the offenders were leveraging tampered electricity meters that were not showing the real energy consumption. It resulted in monthly losses to the state, ranging anywhere between $186,200 and $259,300. What added to the offense was that this illegal drawing of power could leave other users in the area without electricity.
The authorities have initiated criminal proceedings on several fronts simultaneously, including theft and unauthorized use of water, electricity, and thermal energy. They are also to continue with the investigation to identify all those involved in illegal activities.
When it comes to the prevalence of crypto operations in Ukraine, the country ranks at the top of Chainalysis’ Global Crypto Adoption Index. It is also trying to encourage crypto-businesses in the geography by introducing crypto-friendly initiatives and bills aimed at legalizing crypto assets.