A 61 year old Chinese grandmother will go behind bars for 4 months for stealing electricity while mining Bitcoin. On top of the sentence, the elderly Bitcoin enthusiast Qiuping Tang will also pay a fine of 10,000 Yuan ($1,500) for electricity theft.
The decision to lock her up was made by the federal court in the Chinese Hebei province after a suit was filed against Tang, by the Tangshan power supply company according to Chinese media. Tang was charged for stealing $1,300 worth of electricity inorder to mine Bitcoin between January and October 2018.
According to Chinese authorities, Tang had been operating four mining rigs which included one regulator, and a mobile device all using stolen electricity. The report also indicated that she made a profit of $940 while consuming electricity worth $1,300.
Tang confessed to her crime after being arrested and went on to reimburse the electricity company while also settling the fine imposed on her to the Chinese State Treasury. She paid a total of $3,600 to settle the whole case.
This story is an extension of China’s war on Bitcoin mining, which has been well documented. China’s opposition to Bitcoin mining has been precipitated by recurring scam cases, electricity theft, as well as the fact that Bitcoin mining is quite energy intensive. It is however clearly evidenced by this story, that despite the government’s efforts to suppress the activity, it is still quite popular.
Tang’s story is not the first of its kind in China. In April last year, the Chinese port city of Tianjin confiscated 600 Bitcoin mining computers in the largest power theft case seen in the country’s recent history. The power theft was discovered after an abnormal surge in electricity mining was noticed and investigated only for authorities to find that two Bitcoin miners had short circuited the meters in a junction box, to avoid being charged for their electricity consumption.
A separate case 8 months later in the country’s separate province, Taiwan, saw a Bitcoin miner get arrested for mining $14.5 million worth of Bitcoin, using $3.2 million worth of stolen electricity. The Taiwan miner allegedly operated 17 illegal crypto mining centers using fake storefronts across Taiwan.
Tang’s story however, has caught the country’s eye the most. This is because the story is surprising, and sad; surprising because it was revealed that the 61 year old was quite crypto savvy which is a rarity for someone her age, and sad considering how ruthless the Chinese authorities dealt with her. Tang is a 61 year old, who not only confessed to her crime and paid her fines to the government, but also reimbursed the security company. Many people therefore have an issue with her getting a prison sentence as well.
The story is an indicator of how desperate the Chinese government is in curbing Bitcoin mining and the lengths it is prepared to go, to deter Bitcoin mining electricity thieves. The story also reinforces an earlier story we shared about how a good number of elderly people know about Bitcoin.
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