Malaysian bitcoin miners steal power worth $550 million

In response to an increase in energy theft cases for Bitcoin mining in Malaysia, the country’s electrical provider is suggesting new ways to address the issue.

Tenaga Nasional Bhd. is considering implementing a special tariff for Bitcoin mining firms, Bloomberg reports. Participants would be able to apply for “controlled supply.”

According to Baharin Din, the company’s President and CEO, the illicit usage of power to mine digital currencies is anticipated to expand in the coming days. Tenaga claims that unlawful Bitcoin mining via unauthorised electrical connections increased from 610 in 2018 to 7,209 in 2021.

Bahrain also predicts that energy theft totaled $550 million between 2018 and 2021, with 18 persons detained.

Notably, miners have used behaviours such as interfering with metre installation or totally powering their business without utilising metres or illicit connections to circumvent regulators.

“The irresponsible criminals do so at the price of the public’s security and dependability of supply. Unauthorized electrical connections might also pose a risk of fire,” Baharin said.

As previously reported, the Malaysian Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department (CID) confiscated illicit Bitcoin mining equipment valued at a record RM54 million ($12.9 million).

In comparison to 2020, the value of seized equipment increased by 4,185 percent to RM1.26 million ($331,000).

Tenaga has been collaborating with many governmental institutions, including the anti-graft agency, the police, the Energy Commission, and municipal councils, to catch unlawful Bitcoin miners.

Additionally, experts propose using technologies such as smart metres, metre data management systems, and analytic tools to improve the availability of essential power demand and supply data. Given Malaysia’s prohibition on bitcoin mining, it is unclear how the idea, if granted, would be executed.

In general, Malaysian regulation of digital currencies continues to be a contentious issue. According to Finbold, Malaysia’s Deputy Finance Minister Yamani Hafez Musa recently underlined that the nation does not classify cryptocurrencies as financial instruments. According to the government source, digital currencies have not shown the characteristics of a worldwide currency.

His stance contrasts with those of nations such as El Salvador, who have taken the step of declaring Bitcoin legal money.

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