The authorities are definitely not joking anymore with the illegal mining of bitcoins. This time, it is the Malaysian police who has just destroyed more than 1,000 ASICs, intended for bitcoin (BTC) mining, using a steamroller. The machines would have been confiscated following a theft of electricity.
More than 1 million dollars worth of ASICs sent to the scrapyard…
Malaysia is literally crushing hundreds of ASICs that were being used to illegally mine bitcoin. Unlike China, where the activity has recently become illegal, this is an unusual story of electricity theft. In total, the Malaysian authorities would have destroyed more than 1.2 million dollars worth of BTC mining machines after they were confiscated for illegal operation.
In a video published by the local newspaper Dayak Daily, we see that the police of the city of Miri and the electricity company Sarawak Energy have made a real show of force, with the video of a steamroller destroying the 1,069 BTC miners. These ASICs (mostly older generation S9s) were reportedly confiscated from residents of Malaysia who were attempting to mine cryptocurrency illegally, using stolen electricity between February and April 2021.
According to Malaysian newspaper The Star, the scrapping of the mining machines took place on July 19 at the Miri District Police Headquarters. Authorities said three houses in the area were destroyed this year due to illegal BTC mining. Sarawak Energy, meanwhile, says it has suffered losses of about $2 million because of the electricity theft.
… when they could have been recycled?
The Bitcoin mining community has reacted widely on Twitter, because of this destruction deemed not ecological.
It is still unclear why the authorities destroyed the ASICs, instead of recycling some of them. In any case, the debris might have been sold for scrap.
Malaysia is not the only country to crack down on illegal miners. Indeed, Iran, Turkey and in other territories, where mining is restricted, have been conducting raids on illegal crypto operations for some time, often resulting in arrests, fines and seizure of ASICs.
On the other hand, there are few, if any, similarly thorough reports of machines being crushed by a steamroller or destroyed. China, for example, opted to auction off more than 2,000 ASICs seized for similar reasons last February.
The Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance estimates that Malaysia contributed 3.44 percent of total monthly Bitcoin hashrate in April. The country has an annual energy consumption of more than 147 terawatt hours.
This video of the router-compressor destroying ASICs has caused quite a stir in the cryptosphere. In the midst of bitcoin being extremely criticized from all sides, one can point out the irony of destroying machines that could have been recycled and used differently in a regulated setting. The objective being certainly to scare as much as possible, this should not leave indifferent the Chinese miners who are wondering whether they should sell or relocate their activities.