Malaysian Bitcoin Miners in $765,000 Electricity Theft

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Malaysian Bitcoin miners are causing significant disruption to the country’s power supply company, so much so that the utility provider is seeking recompense after suffering heavy losses. Malaysia Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) has begun targeting Bitcoin miners who have resorted to stealing electricity in order to power their mining activities, a criminal enterprise that reportedly cost the company RM3.2 million ($765,000) this year.

Building Owners Prosecuted

According to Siti Sarah Johana Mohd, General Manager of TNB, the company will start prosecuting all offenders who steal electricity for Bitcoin mining, as well as the owners of the building where the activities are being carried out, even if they are not aware it is happening. Building owners are therefore being advised to use the names of the tenants on the official documents of TNB rather than their names to avoid implicating themselves. Johana also stated that after discontinuation of electricity, property owners will receive a letter of demand for the sums owed due to the mining.

Malaysia Not Alone

Malaysia is not the only country struggling with electricity usage by crypto miners. Iran in particular has cracked down on the practice in recent months, raiding mining farms and prosecuting miners, while Germany has also seen cases of illegal crypto mining that suck up electricity. In countries where Bitcoin itself is illegal crypto mining is also therefore illegal, while countries that allow Bitcoin also generally allow the mining of it, as long as the resources used for it are obtained legally. Mining with illegally obtained electricity is considered theft in almost all these countries, with many authorities actively increasing their surveillance of such activities.