With the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies, there have been increasing reports about the growing online theft and funds being stolen from the wallets of the crypto account holders. However, in a surprising turn of events, and just like a traditional burglary, over 600 powerful mining computers have been reported to be stolen from the data centers in Iceland.
As reported by the Associated Press, all the computers have been reported to have been stolen in four different incidents in December and January, and the lost assets have yet to be recovered. Nearly 11 people have been so far arrested in this matter that includes a security guard as well. The Icelandic media, on the other hand, has dubbed this massive theft as the “Big Bitcoin Heist”.
Apart from 600 Bitcoin mining hardware devices, around 600 graphics cards, 100 power supplies, 100 processors, 100 motherboards have also been stolen as well. On Friday, March 2nd, a judge at the Reykjanes District Court has ordered two people to remain in custody.
The powerful mining hardware computers that have not yet been found, are reportedly worth $2 million. If all the stolen hardware devices are used for its original purpose of mining Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, the thieves are expected to have an easy walk-away thereby making huge profits in an untraceable currency without even selling the items.
Olafur Helgi Kjartansson, the police commissioner on the southwestern Reykjanes peninsula said: “This is a grand theft on a scale unseen before. Everything points to this being a highly organized crime.”
Over the past few years, Iceland has turned as the favorite destination for Bitcoin mining individuals and companies because of the country’s huge data center industry as well access to country’s rich source of surplus geothermal energy. With the increased activity around mining cryptocurrencies, the government of Iceland is also mulling out options of introducing taxes for Icelandic mining operations.
The local police of Iceland which has been tracking this theft is currently tracking and monitoring the electric consumption across the country with the hope that they can be traced somehow, said an anonymous source familiar with the matter. It is said that higher energy usage might give the investigative agency some lead in tracking the whereabouts of the illegal Bitcoin mine.
The investigative authorities and local agencies have also contacted electricians. local internet providers and storage space to report them about any unusual request for power demand.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies operate on a completely decentralized network away from the intervention of any central agency like banks and hence it becomes difficult for the authorities, in case of theft, to actually trace the evidence of the theft. Tracing the stolen Bitcoin mining rigs, in this case, is going to be a mammoth task, unless and until they are being used for any official activity and leave a trace behind.