Japanese Cryptocurrency Miner Receives Jail Sentence for Remote Mining

japantimes.co.jp

According to reports from Japanese media on Monday, a man has received a one-year prison sentence for using a remote mining tool which allowed him to mine cryptocurrency with other people’s computers without their consent.

On July 2, an unemployed 24-year-old in Amagasaki in Hyogo prefecture received a one-year prison sentence from the Sendai District Court, with the sentence suspended for three years according to Nikkei.

A report from the Kahoku Shinpo publication elaborated, “The Sendai District Court ruled on an imprisonment sentence of 1 year, [with the] sentence suspended for 3 years…The judgment on mining abuse was the first in the whole country.”

There have been many other reports regarding the crackdown of the Japanese police on the use of remote mining tools to mine cryptocurrencies using devices without the owners’ consent. Police in 10 prefectures nabbed 16 people recently and arrested 3 for doing so.

The articles from Japanese news outlets such as Kahoku and Nikkei do not, however, mention the name of the remote mining tool used neither do they clarify if Coinhive, in particular, was used by those arrested.

The case, according to a source familiar with the issue, involves the use of Coinhive in an online game cheat tool rather than a website.

Kahoku reported, “According to the judgment, he embedded a mining program into a tool that advances online games advantageously, in January – February, without justifiable grounds, released it on his blog, downloaded it to another person’s computer, and started mining.”

Dr. Takagi Hiromitsu, a famous security researcher, commented on the news. He confirmed, “This case was not [about] Coinhive on the web but a cheat tool of an online game.”

Meanwhile, Lawyer Takashi Hirano believes that the legal status of the two uses of Coinhive is different.

Hirano is the lawyer representing Moro-san who was fined around $909 for installing Coinhive on his website and mining cryptocurrency without the consent of the users accessing his website. Hirano stressed, “I think that there are major differences in the legal configuration between using Coinhive on one’s website and embedding Coinhive in one’s cheat tool.”

Most online game cheating programs are illegal in Japan as they violate the country’s Unfair Competition Prevention Law. Those who violate this law are arrested and have to face criminal charges in Japanese court.