South Korean Market Giant Bans Bitcoin Mining Amidst Electricity Outages

Earlier this week, Yongsan Electronics Market, an iconic center in South Korea which houses some of the largest electronic retailers and South Korean headquarters of major computer manufacturers including ASUS, officially banned Bitcoin mining after discovering that some of its smaller stores have used Yongsan Electronics Market’s electricity to mine Bitcoin.

Bitcoin mining craze

Local sources including Hankyung revealed that some stores established mining equipment to mine Bitcoin with the market’s electricity. Employees of certain computer retail stores even had normal CPUs running overnight mining Bitcoin.

Owners of computer stores and electronics retailers submitted formal complaints to the Yongsan Electronics Market management and expressed their concerns over overheating computers posing as a potential fire hazard.

In fact, in early 2013, many cryptocurrency enthusiasts in South Korea tried to mine Litecoin, which had significantly lower difficulty levels than Bitcoin, with normal CPUs or computers. After days of running Litecoin mining software, some reported that the motherboards of their laptops melted due to extreme overheating.

In a public statement, the Yongsan Electronics Market announced:

“Running of Bitcoin mining equipment results to significant consumption of electricity within the center. If electric consumption reaches its limit, electricity costs will drastically increase and they will have to be covered by merchants, computer stores and electronic retailers within the center. Some merchants and stores submitted formal complaints that due the rapid increase in electricity consumption caused by Bitcoin mining, air conditioners stopped functioning properly.”

During an investigation, the Yongsan Electronics Market management discovered that some stores that were initially rented out as computer stores were being used as Bitcoin mining centers, with ASIC miners and GPUs in racks placed throughout the space. The management further revealed that consumers and clients passing through stores that had Bitcoin mining equipment running felt a drastic increase in temperature in the area.

“100 ASIC miners running simultaneously”

The Yongsan Electronics Market management noted that one store had $300,000 worth of ASIC miners and GPUs running full time, 24/7, to mine Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

“One store had over 100 ASIC miners running simultaneously, which led to an unexpected rise in energy consumption,” the management added.

Bitcoin mining, which once was a lucrative business and industry, has become increasingly difficult to profit from.

Major mining pools including Antpool, which is operated by arguably the most influential Bitcoin mining equipment manufacturer in the industry Bitmain, also struggle to record high-profit margins despite exponential development in ASIC miners and Bitcoin mining equipment.

Last month, Cointelegraph previously reported that the South Korean government has officially legalized and approved Bitcoin as a remittance method, similar to the Philippines.

When the South Korean government and financial regulators fully legalize and regulate the South Korean Bitcoin exchange market, clarity on Bitcoin mining will also be provided.