A local power provider in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, has claimed that an illegal crypto miner caused significant damage to their grid and stole approximately $225,000 worth of electricity. According to the Russian legal publication Pravo, the miner illegally tapped into the grid in the Sakhalin Oblast. The power provider, Sakhalinenergo, discovered an illegally connected transformer substation on the premises of a construction company. The miner connected their crypto mining rigs directly to the grid and housed them in container units. The miner bypassed metering systems and did not declare their operations. The mining setup was operational from December 2021 to May 2022. Police have launched a criminal case against the alleged miner, who has been charged with causing property damage on an especially large scale. The miner’s property has been seized.

A street in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia. (Source: Eugene Yakovenko [CC BY-SA 3.0])

Russian Energy Firms Fighting Back Against Illegal Crypto Miners?

There has been a rise in illegal mining in Russia, but power companies are becoming more vigilant in identifying individuals attempting to steal electricity from local grids by bypassing meters. In Irkutsk, a crypto mining hotspot, power companies identified 430 cases of suspected electricity theft by illegal miners, resulting in an estimated $3.3 million worth of stolen electricity. Illegal crypto farms have been discovered in various locations, including private homes, garages, balconies, and even in the attic of a psychiatric hospital. Similar instances of electricity theft by illegal miners have been reported in the Russian Republic of Dagestan and Ukraine.

A map of Russia, with the Irkutsk Oblast shaded in red.
Russia’s Irkutsk Oblast. (Source: Stasyan117/Seryo93 [CC BY-SA 4.0])

Earlier this year, experts noted that Russia was becoming a “crypto mining hotspot.”


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