Considering how cryptocurrency is becoming all the rage across the world, the mining process of this decentralised currency has also increased, contributing to excessive energy consumption that is further propelling climate change. One such incident took place in Ukraine last week when the Security Service of Ukraine, known as SBU discovered and raided a cryptocurrency mining farm that allegedly stole electricity from the country’s power grid. What further baffled the government agency was that they found thousands of stacks of PS4 gaming consoles instead of computers at the site, reported Kotaku. According to a report by Kotaku, the SBU discovered more than 5,000 devices, which included racks of 3,800 PS4 Pros that were seized and other gaming-related hardware, in a warehouse next to the Vinnytsiaoblenergo energy distribution company in Vinnytsia. It should be noted that mining of cryptocurrency can be done through gaming consoles as well. The report further mentioned that the agency has accused the crypto mining operation of stealing as much as $2,56,648 worth of energy from the surrounding grid using special electrical meters to hide the theft.
In an official statement by Vinnytsiaoblenergo shared on July 9, it was said, “Cryptocurrency mining equipment has never operated in the premises owned by our company.” The statement also refuted the claim that any theft of electricity had taken place as it said, “During the inspection, the representatives of the controlling body did not reveal any facts of theft of electricity. Therefore, information about multimillion-dollar thefts of electricity is not true.”
Even though crypto mining and trading is legal in Ukraine, Ukrainians cannot declare cryptocurrency exchanges or register as crypto businesses. Speaking to the Kyiv Post, Nataliya Drik, CEO of organization Blockchain Ukraine said that the SBU often abuses its authority and seizes valuable equipment worth thousands of dollars without legal justification.
The report also mentioned that there are two types of cryptocurrency users in the country, one who is usually faced by “unsubstantiated raids of law enforcement” and the second as “criminals” who import technology for cryptocurrency mining “illegally” to avoid taxation abroad.