Game Console-powered Cyptomining Farm Seized in Ukraine

Ukrainian authorities dismantled an illegal cryptomining facility that was stealing electricity to operate and primarily used game consoles in their setups.

Cryptomining itself is not illegal, but it entails high electricity costs, making mining a lot less profitable. In some situations, criminals prefer to either remotely take over machines and use them for cryptomining or simply steal electricity from the grid to increase their profits.

The SBU Department for CI Protection of State Economic Interests, jointly with the SBU Office in the Vinnytsia region and the Main National Police Investigation Department, under the supervision of the Prosecutor General’s Office, carried out an extensive operation in an old warehouse belonging to JSC Vinnytsiaoblenerho.

“According to preliminary estimates, the monthly losses to the state ranged from UAH 5 to 7 m. (USD 186,200 to 259,300),” said the authorities. “However, such illegal activity could lead to power surges and left people without electricity. The SBU initiated criminal proceedings for the theft of water, electricity or thermal energy through its unauthorized use.”

Police confiscated a lot of hardware that actually shows the extent of the farm and completely explains that high power consumption:

· 3,800 game consoles
· over 500 graphics cards
· 50 processors
· draft documentation on electricity consumption
· notebooks, phones, flash drives

While cryptocurrency mining has taken a hit in recent months, with activity worldwide crackdown by authorities, it’s still an ongoing process. Legal cryptominers have difficulties breaking even, so the entire endeavor is slowly moving into the criminal domain, where people find ways to avoid paying the electricity bill.