A Chinese man has found himself in police custody after attempting to steal electricity to fund his unprofitable Bitcoin mining operation, local media outlet Xinhua reports June 22.
The suspect, known only by his surname Ma, allegedly mined Bitcoin and Ethereum on two hundred computers in the country’s Anhui province, all of which have been confiscated by the police upon the miner’s arrest. In total, Ma had stolen 150 megawatt (MW) of electricity, according to Xinhua.
According to the sources, Ma had no idea about the power costs for running the considerable mining operation when he purchased the hardware in April, which subsequently turned out to be over 6000 yuan ($930) per day.
Police were alerted to Ma when the local grid “reported abnormal electricity usage.”
“...Police found that the electricity meter for the suspected cryptocurrency mining operation had been short-circuited, which was likely an attempt to dodge the power bill,” Xinhua adds.
China has sought to crack down on its mining industry in recent months, which had previously involved a proliferation of operators in areas which had over-supply of power.
Various cases involving the practice have surfaced in the media, including a case in April when a Taiwanese miner was shot by gangsters after a mismanaged deal.
Worldwide, Bitcoin mining is expected to consume 0.5% of total electricity output as soon as the end of this year, Cointelegraph reported in May.