Icelandic police are investigating what is termed as the biggest thefts ever reported in Iceland. Hundreds of cryptocurrency miners have been reported stolen, leading to a series of arrest in an ongoing Bitcoin Heist investigation.
The thieving spree occurred on four different burglaries in December and January and the number of stolen bitcoin miners sits at 600 miners and are yet to be recovered to date. Several arrests were made, including a security worker in connection with the ongoing investigation. The Icelandic media have termed it as the ‘Big Bitcoin Heist’ with the stolen mining equipment having an approximate value of over $2 million. The security worker and another second person remain in custody after a Reykjanes District Court ruling; no details of their connection to the Bitcoin Heist were released as the investigation is ongoing.
According to a CCN report, the Police commissioner of Iceland’s south western Reykjanes region Olafur Helgi Kjartansson said:
“This is a grand theft of a scale unseen before. Everything points to this being a highly organized crime.”
The report further quoted local media a source reporting the total heist involves 600 graphics cards, 100 memory discs, 100 motherboards, 100 power sources, and 100 CPUs were stolen.
Home to Mining Rigs
Iceland is the home of bitcoin mining rigs and data centers attracted by the nation’s cheap and constant power supply from one of the largest geothermal and hydroelectric power plants in the world. The country’s cold temperatures provide a favorable environment for cooling, large-scale mining operations and Data-centers systems. The flourishing Bitcoin and crypto-mining market and higher gains made by cryptocurrencies have led to local politicians to explore possibilities of introducing a crypto-mining tax, for taxing large-scale mining operations.
This comes as China signaled for a possible total ban on cryptocurrency mining activities in the nation. Mining rigs have long relied on China’s cheap power oversupply and friendly local authorities in ensuring the local economies are supported by the excess consumed power. Since last year, China has banned ICOs and later issued a ban on crypto related ads and recently restricted access to foreign crypto exchanges following an earlier ban on exchanges. Mining firms are now moving operations to the U.S, Iceland, and Canada for cheap power supply.
The Icelandic police kept details of the heist from the public as they hoped to catch the burglars and. At the moment, the police have asked internet providers, electricians and storage space providers to report any suspicious operations. The country’s energy authorities are also monitoring power consumptions for unusual spikes as mining operations consume lots of energy.