Amid the frenzy of cryptocurrency mining, enterprising thieves are hoping to make a fortune by stealing not only the cryptocurrencies themselves but also the devices that churn out the digital coins.
In Iceland, a massive heist resulted in the loss of 600 rigs meant for mining Bitcoin along with a collection of other equipment in what authorities are calling one of the biggest cases of theft in the country. The value of the stolen computers is estimated at nearly $2 million.
“This is a grand theft on a scale unseen before. Everything points to this being a highly organized crime,” said police commissioner Olafur Helgi Kjartansson.
So far, 11 people have been arrested in connection with the heist, including a security guard. However, police are no closer to discovering the whereabouts of the stolen equipment.
It seems right now as if their only real hope is to look for energy consumption spikes in an area that is not known to have a mining operation.
It is, however, entirely possible that the burglars have moved the equipment overseas, which would make the search much less likely to yield any result.
The heist involved four burglaries, three of them taking place in December last year and one the following month.
Iceland has become an attractive breeding ground for mining operations looking for cheap, renewable energy to fuel their ambitions.
Unfortunately for Icelanders, it means they have to share the country’s power grids with a massive number of energy-guzzling ASIC units whose purpose is to solve complex algorithms in exchange for some Bitcoin.
HS Orka sounded the alarm last month, declaring that the power required to fuel miners coming to the island would surpass the amount used by all the homes in the country.
Now that Iceland has welcomed miners within its borders, it also has to contend with some of the negative consequences of the crypto frenzy. Burglaries might become a greater concern as authorities attempt to protect the guests who have set up shop locally.