The world grows stranger every day. Case in point: The BBC today reported that West Midlands Police discovered a cryptocurrency mining operation comprised of “about 100 computer units” while they were searching a suspected cannabis farm.
Mining cryptocurrency isn’t all that different from growing cannabis. Both can lead to surprising amounts of profit, both rely on a fair amount of labor, and both require a significant amount of power to generate their highly valuable products.
Those last two similarities did the mining operation in. “Detectives said they were tipped off about lots of people visiting the unit throughout the day,” the BBC reported, “and a police drone picked up a lot of heat coming from the building.”
The report also claimed the miners “had stolen thousands of pounds of electricity.” (Hopefully, they lifted with their knees.) Instead of being used to power grow lights, however, that power was being used to mine an as-yet-unidentified cryptocurrency.
Mining operations have become increasingly contentious recently. Activist groups have opposed the establishment of mines in upstate New York power plants, for example, while parts of China have set up hotlines to report suspected miners.
Now it seems they’ll be problematic on even smaller scales as miners look to maximize their profits by stealing electricity instead of paying for it themselves—which could also bring them unwanted attention from law enforcement.
The saying goes “when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.” Right now grow operations are the horses and mining operations are the zebras. How many more incidents like this, we wonder, will it take before that’s reversed?