Malaysia Reports $723M Crypto Mining Electricity Theft


Malaysia Crushes Illegal Crypto Mining, Seizes Millions in Stolen Electricity

Malaysia is cracking down on illegal cryptocurrency mining operations that steal electricity, a practice costing the country an estimated $723 million between 2018 and 2023. This figure was revealed by Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Energy Transition and Water Transformation, Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir.

Nasir’s comments came during a public event overseeing the disposal of 2,022 confiscated items valued at approximately $467,000. This seized equipment included Bitcoin mining rigs and various electrical equipment used in illegal mining activities, according to a report by Malay Mail.

Nasir emphasized the detrimental effects of these illegal mining operations. He highlighted the harm caused not only to Tenaga Nasional Berhad, Malaysia’s state-owned power company, but also to local residents in areas impacted by these electricity thefts.

Electricity theft is often facilitated by avoiding registration with relevant authorities. Perpetrators then resort to bypassing electricity meters or diverting power directly from power lines.

“The theft of electricity by crypto miners is often fueled by the misconception that the absence of meters on their premises makes detection impossible,” explained Nasir. However, he added, “energy providers have various methods to identify unusual energy consumption within specific areas.” This explains the success of Malaysian authorities in seizing over 2,000 items during an operation conducted in October 2022.

It’s important to clarify that cryptocurrency mining itself is not illegal in Malaysia. However, the act of stealing electricity to power these mining operations is a criminal offense, as confirmed by Malaysia’s Universiti Teknologi MARA in December 2022.

Clampdown on Illegal Mining Operations

Malaysian officials have been actively seizing illegal cryptocurrency mining equipment since at least August 2019. Nasir confirmed that these operations are conducted in accordance with the country’s established criminal procedure laws. The disposed-of equipment even met a rather dramatic end, with some machines being crushed by a steamroller.

Nasir emphasized that his ministry prioritizes not only curbing illegal mining activities but also investing in the development of renewable energy sources for Malaysia.

In a separate but related move, Malaysia’s Securities Commission took action against unregistered cryptocurrency exchanges in May 2023. The regulatory body ordered Huobi Global, a prominent crypto exchange, to cease operations due to its failure to register its trading services within the country.

Currently, HATA Digital, Luno, SINEGY, MX Global, Tokenize Technology, and Torum International are the only cryptocurrency trading platforms that have secured registration and operate legally within Malaysia.

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Author: Sb

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