China: Man Sentenced to Prison for Stealing Railway Electricity to Mine Bitcoin

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Although the Chinese regulatory bodies have maintained their distance from cryptocurrencies, it has not deterred the people in the country from partaking in the promising crypto mining industry – as a Chinese man was recently sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for stealing power from a train station to mine Bitcoin (BTC). The incident was reported by the local media outlet The Paper, on October 8, 2018.

Details of the Crime

According to the report published, a resident named Xin Xinghua plead guilty to stealing government electricity to run Bitcoin mining operations. In addition to the 3.5 years in prison, the accused has also been fined a sum of 100,000 Yuan (approx. $14,500) for the crime he orchestrated.

The court documents released publicly on October 8 state that the sentence was served on September 13, 2018, at the Datong Railway Transport Court in the northern Chinese province of Shanxi.

While the court hearing took place just recently, the background of the crime stretches as back as almost one year.

In November 2017, Xin stole electricity from one of the factories at Kouquan Railway Station to run his 50 Bitcoin miners and three electric fans 24/7. The released court documents highlight that 5 of the mining machines were damaged during the stipulated period.

However, the whole mining scheme didn’t turn out to be very profitable for Xinghua, as according to the court documents, he was able to mine a total of 3.2 Bitcoin (approx. $17,400) while incurring electricity costs of 104,000 Yuan (approx. $15,000)

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It’s worth pointing out that all of Xinghua’s mining equipment were seized by the Chinese authorities shortly before the case was heard.

Adding to the misfortune of the accused, the court has also ordered Xinghua to cover the cost of the electricity charges.

Illegal Crypto Mining on the Rise

While the Chinese regulatory authorities have been on a cryptocurrency crackdown lately, surprisingly enough, the act of authorized mining is still legal in the country. The Bitcoin mining behemoth Bitmain is a prime example of authorized crypto mining.

However, just like any other lucrative industry, the crypto mining industry has also led to some unauthorized, illegal acts of mining Bitcoin.

BTCManager reported on May 1, 2018, how a Chinese family in Southern China was accused of using stolen electricity to mine Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

On a similar note, the Chinese Police seized around 600 Bitcoin mining equipment and investigated five suspects in April this year – in what was touted as one of the most significant illegal crypto mining operations in recent times.