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25 June 2024
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Illegal Crypto Mining in Russia Costed Taxpayers $6.6M in Over 3 Years

Illegal crypto mining operations in the Russian Federation have stolen electricity worth nearly $6.6 million in the last three years. According to state-owned power distributor,  Rossetti, illegal mining farms, compromised power meters and underground mining farms helped illicit cryptocurrency miners to illegally consume 450 million Russian rubles ($6.6 million) worth of electric power from the domestic power providers.

The electricity firm disclosed the figure on its official Telegram channel. The firm has been hunting ‘black mining sites’ that do not have any sort of deal with power companies, but still use the national electricity grid to mine digital currencies without paying. 

According to the firm, black mining sites are usually based in the office of already established businesses including factories where the owners want to earn extra funds. Additional black mining sites include actual food farms, garages, strategic sites in the woods and leased offices.

According to Rossetti, the illegal miners would pull an electric cable to the closest electricity line and develop their own power transformation stations. For instance, in one of the discovered black mining sites; the power transforming station was found underground buried under a public forest; as per the power distributor.

The state-owned power company has discovered 35 illegal mining operations from 20 different regions in Russia since 2017. According to Rossetti, each of those cases have been reported to law enforcement. 

“We closely analyze the consumption patterns looking for anomalies, inspect the power lines and measure the workload of the stations. Sometimes it’s easy to notice a mining farm by visual signs, like when a building has powerful air conditioning devices and fans installed,” said Rossetti. 

Illegal crypto mining has been rampant in Russia

Over the past one year, people have been minting digital currencies illegally in Russia at a nuclear research institute and utilizing the website of a domestic utilities solution provider. On the other hand, Rossetti has been researching on how to utilize the same technology; to discover new ways of using distributed ledgers to effectively amass power consumption data. 

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