(Yicai Global) June 25 -- Police in China's central province of Anhui have busted a gang of thieves for stealing electricity to power an abandoned factory housing more than 200 bitcoin and ethereum mining machines.
The crew stole nearly 150,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity over more than a month, state-owned news agency Xinhua reported. That's around 14 times more than a typical American home, according to 2016 figures published by the United States Energy Information Administration. Police confiscated the mining equipment.
The case follows a similar incident in Wuhan, provincial capital of Hubei. Police there found 80 mining machines at a rented home, where thieves pilfered CNY600,000 (USD91,725) worth of electricity, operating equipment 24 hours a day and using CNY53,000 worth of power every month.
China has outright banned cryptocurrency trading, but there are still many people looking to obtain coins via mining, which requires vast amounts of computing power. The costs of running high-performance computers and cooling units to prevent them from overheating make up the bulk of mining expenses.
Editor: James Boynton