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?
If the elec company sees a particular residence and account all of a sudden using 3x the power, that gets flagged.
Routinely, the police might ask the elec company about sudden excess use.
Excess heat is readily identifiable from outside, with an IR camera.
Both conditions can be indicative of a grow op or mining farm.
I remember reading the same thing. Wasn't that very story featured here a while ago? Seems like it was a bit older than a few years ago though.
Either that location dropped to near zero (Why?), or someone else in the neighborhood spiked (Why?)