Chinese Bitcoin Miner Gets 3.5 Years in Prison for Electricity Theft

Vox

A man in China has pleaded guilty to stealing electricity from the government in order to power his Bitcoin mining activities. The Chinese man, Xu Xinghu, has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of about $14,500.

In an October 8 report by TechNode, a man has been incarcerated for stealing electricity to power his Bitcoin mining activities.

TechNode cites local media reports as saying that Xinghu has pleaded guilty to stealing directly from the Chinese train network’s power lines. The man has utilized the electricity for his 50 Bitcoin mining rigs and three cooling fans installed in a rented property situated adjacent to the train lines.

Authorities have slapped Xinghu with a fine amounting to RMB 100,000 or roughly $14,500, together with a three and a half prison sentence. The man reportedly stole electricity amounting to RMB 104,000. According to local media outlet cnBeta, Xinghu was able to mine 3.2 Bitcoin by April 2018 from his operation, which is worth more than $21,000.

The sentencing has been executed in September but has only been recently revealed to the local media. Xinghu’s mining tools have also been seized right before the start of the court hearing.

While the Chinese government has assumed a negative stance towards cryptocurrency, crypto mining operations in the country are not deemed unlawful. As long as they pay their own electric consumption, crypto miners can legally operate mining activities.

The decline in Bitcoin prices, as well as the high cost of mining operations, has pushed crypto miners to search for alternative ways to mine digital currencies. Many crypto miners have relocated to areas that offer cheap, clean power like Iceland and Canada.