- Bitcoin mining crackdown in Indonesia exposes global issue: illicit power use prompts arrests and machine seizures.
- Manipulating power infrastructure mining schemes highlights environmental concerns, prompting stricter regulations worldwide.
- Recent cases, like China’s Yi Xiao, emphasize the urgent need for legal measures against unsustainable Bitcoin mining practices globally.
Indonesian law enforcement, led by North Sumatra Police Chief Inspector General Agung Setya Imam Effendi, shut down 10 Bitcoin mining operations over allegations of electricity theft. The crackdown ensued when authorities uncovered evidence of the illicit diversion of electricity to power these mining activities. The Chief emphasized the gravity of the electricity theft, estimating the total losses to be nearly USD 1 million.
Raids on Bitcoin Mining Hubs and Arrest of Individuals
The police operation occurred at several locations, including shophouses in Jalan Harmonika Baru, Jalan Pasar 1 Tapian Nauli, and Jalan Sei Ular Lingkar. The enforcement resulted in the arrest of 26 individuals involved in the unlawful activity. At the targeted locations, authorities seized 1,314 mining machines, 440M of electrical wiring in length, 11 computer CPU units, laptops, and other evidence.
Inspector General Effendi emphasized the commitment of the police to take legal action against the arrested individuals. The investigation will determine the roles and legal status of the suspects, as well as whether the same perpetrator controlled the 10 locations. The authorities will follow the due process outlined in the Electricity Law, explicitly referring to Article 51 of Law Number 30 of 2009.
Manipulating Power Infrastructure
Investigations by the police revealed that the perpetrators executed their scheme by siphoning electricity directly from PLN (Perusahaan Listrik Negara) poles, a method that went undetected for an estimated six months. Inspector General Effendi explained that the theft was executed by diverting electricity from the PLN box, manipulating the flow to bypass the metered system. The stolen electricity was then channeled directly from the pole to power the Bitcoin mining operations.
Global Trend and Environmental Implications
The incident in Indonesia is not isolated, as similar events have been reported globally. In China, a recent case resulted in Yi Xiao, a government official, receiving a life sentence from the Hangzhou Intermediate People’s Court. Xiao, formerly the vice chairman of a party group, was convicted of abusing his authority to facilitate electricity access for a Bitcoin mining venture. The enterprise, led by Xiao for four years, accumulated over 160K Bitcoin miners.
These occurrences shed light on the broader environmental issues linked to Bitcoin mining. The significant energy demands inherent in mining operations, frequently sourced through illicit or unsustainable methods, present substantial environmental and legal dilemmas. Across the globe, governmental and regulatory entities are progressively examining these behaviors, leading to the introduction of more stringent rules and the enforcement of legal measures against unlawful mining activities.
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