Bitcoin Miners Arrested for Alleged Power Theft

Allegations of electricity theft have reportedly led to the arrest of bitcoin miners and equipment seizures in two Chinese cities.

AccessTimeIconApr 25, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. UTC
Updated Dec 10, 2022 at 8:00 p.m. UTC

Allegations of electricity theft have led to the arrest of bitcoin miners in two Chinese cities, according to reports.

In the first instance, six individuals have been arrested in Tianjin, with the Xinhua news agency saying the suspects allegedly used 600 cryptocurrency miners to generate bitcoin with power taken from the local power grid. The police claimed they avoided paying the resulting bills by bypassing the electricity meter.

An investigation was launched, Xinhua says, after the local power company noticed spiking electricity consumption while detecting a significant difference from the measured current. That ultimately led to the seizure of the 600 bitcoin miners along with eight high-powered fans.

The case, coming at a time when China still plays a dominant role in bitcoin mining despite hints it might move to dampen the industry, marks the largest power theft in the country in recent years, the report states.

Meanwhile, according to another report today from the official news site of China's supreme prosecutor, two suspects have also been arrested by police in the city of Wuhan – also charged with electricity theft.

The individuals had allegedly been using an empty and discarded warehouse since March 2017 to house bitcoin miners, while avoiding utility bills via a similar method to the Tianjin accused.

Electricity wire image via Shutterstock


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.