State-Run Ukranian Railway in Lviv Gets Caught Mining Bitcoin

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A branch at Ukrainian Railways (Ukrzaliznytsya), was illegally mining crypto using the power grid of the state. 

Ukrzaliznytsya, a state-owned enterprise of rail transport in Ukraine, says that its Lviv Railway unit used its electricity to plug in more than 100 pieces of crypto mining devices to mine Bitcoin (BTC), according to an official announcement on Nov. 15.

The state’s power grid-operating mining farm was reportedly discovered by Ukrzaliznytsia’s security department and local prosecutors. As reported by the director of the Department of Economic and Information Security at Ukrzaliznytsia, the farm was organized by officials of the Lviv Railway unit.

Estimated electricity losses in 2019 accounted for around $41K

According to the report, the estimated amount of energy losses caused by the illegal farm has accounted for one million Ukrainian hryvnias ($40,700) in 2019.

As the issuance and circulation of crypto in the territory of Ukraine are banned, criminal proceedings have been initiated for the case, Ukrzaliznytsia stated. Information on the offense was reportedly sent to the Ternopil Police Department of the Main Directorate of the National Police in Ternopil Oblast.

At the time of the inspections, Bitcoin’s price was around 208,000 hryvnias ($8,475), the report notes.

Cryptocurrency mining is not regulated in Ukraine

While cryptocurrency mining is not regulated in Ukraine, the industry has been subject to a number of regulatory investigations to date. 

In August 2019, the Security Service of Ukraine arrested power plant operators for mining crypto at a local nuclear power plant facility. Previously, police employees in Ukraine were reportedly caught mining cryptocurrency at work.

Meanwhile, the State Service for Special Communication and Information Protection of Ukraine said in 2018 that it was not planning to regulate cryptocurrency mining.

The news comes amidst an official announcement that Ukrainian authorities will be consulting with major global crypto exchange Binance to establish crypto-related legislation in the country.