The mine — spotted in an industrial unit on the outskirts of the English city of Birmingham — was lifting thousands of pounds worth of electricity from the power network, West Midlands Police announced Thursday.
Police examined the unit in Sandwell on May 18 on the back of intelligence that led them to think it was used as a cannabis farm.
Police said many people attended the unit at various points of the day, adding numerous wiring and ventilation ducts. A police drone also caught much heat coming from the building.
These are all typical signs of a cannabis farm, police stated. Nevertheless, officers discovered a bank of around 100 computers and zero cannabis on accessing the building.
It’s certainly not what they were expecting, Jennifer Griffin, Sandwell police sergeant, announced in a statement. It carried all the marks of a cannabis farming set-up, and she believes it’s only the second such crypto mine they’ve found in the West Midlands.
Bitcoin miners practice purpose-built computers to resolve complex mathematical equations that efficiently enable a bitcoin transaction to go through.
The miners are compensated for their efforts in the digital currency.
Nevertheless, the complete process is incredibly energy-intensive due to the amount of power utilized by computers. Bitcoin has a carbon footprint linked with that of New Zealand. It is causing 36.95 megatons of CO2 annually, as stated by Digiconomist.
Her understanding is that mining for cryptocurrency is not itself unlawful. However, extracting electricity from the mains supply to power it is, Griffin stated. The term “mains supply” refers to the utility network.
The computer equipment has been taken, but no arrests have been made.
On Wednesday, Iran’s government maintained a prohibition on mining bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Administrators blame the energy-intensive process for blackouts in several Iranian cities.
According to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, approximately 4.5% of all bitcoin mining globally took place in Iran between January and April. That placed it between the top 10 globally, while China came first at almost 70%.
China’s Inner Mongolia region intends to halt new cryptocurrency mining projects and close down current activity to lower the energy-consuming operation.