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600 Bitcoin miners stolen in Iceland

16 Aug 2021

600 Bitcoin miners stolen in Iceland

According to the police, it is the biggest theft that ever happened in the small country in the North Atlantic: 600 Bitcoin miners worth around two million dollars were stolen. Some suspects have already been arrested where the devices are, but it is still a mystery. 

A gang of thieves stole 600 mining devices for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on Iceland in December and January. “This is a theft of a magnitude that we haven’t seen before,” quoted the press agency AP Helgi Kjartansson, the police superintendent of the southwestern Reykjanesskagi peninsula, where the theft probably took place. “Everything indicates that organized crime has its fingers in the game.”

According to the data bitcoindata.org the police have now arrested 11 people, including a security guard from a data center not mentioned by name. A judge has ordered pretrial detention for two people. It is not known where the mining equipment – which is currently priced at around two million dollars – is unknown. It is feared that the thieves will be able to generate more than two million dollars in income with the miners by simply letting them work. That way, they wouldn’t have to sell the loot, and the newly generated bitcoins would be absolutely pure. In order to track down the stolen miners, the police are monitoring electricity consumption across the country. An unusual peak in consumption could be an indication of illegal Bitcoin mining.

Iceland has become one of the most sought-after locations for mining thanks to its wide range of cheap, sustainable energy from primarily geothermal energy, the low ventilation costs due to the climate and the good IT infrastructure. According to a report, the country’s Bitcoin mines used more electricity than the 340,000 Icelandic households in the past year, which has already given the pirate party, which is strong in the country, the idea of introducing a special tax for Bitcoin miners.

The Reykjanesskagi Peninsula affected by the theft is likely to be one of the most attractive regions for Bitcoin miners. It is close to the capital Reykjavík, is home to several large geothermal power plants thanks to the high volcanic activity and is relatively densely populated by Icelandic standards (which means that there are at least a few villages and communities).

{{{ 1}} Bitcoin miners being stolen is not a completely new phenomenon. As recently as February, nine suspects were arrested in Malaysia after there were several reports of a total of 153 stolen Bitcoin miners. At least 57 of them have now been found. Bitmain also stated in the course of the AntBleed controversy last year that it happens now and then that miners are stolen or held back by the service provider. This happened in 2014 in China with 1,000 Antminers and in 2015 with 2,000 devices in Georgia. In 2017 it even happened that a Canadian data center sold Bitmain’s miners without the company’s consent.

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