Police in the Chinese city of Tianjin have seized 600 computers for cryptocurrency mining and six air conditioning systems after the local electricity provider reported an unusual level of electricity consumption, Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday.
Besides the confiscation, one suspect has been detained, while five others have been put under investigation, the agency says, adding that the incident has become the largest electrical energy theft in the city in recent years.
Upon investigating the case, the company found out that an electric meter in a block terminal of one of the city's residents had been abridged — the method often used to pay less for electricity.
Cryptocurrency mining requires a lot of electricity consumption, thus, in order to provide all the 600 computers with the required amount of electricity, their owner had to pay hundreds of thousands of yuan every month.
In September 2017, China outlawed cryptocurrencies and ICOs, or initial coin offerings, prompting companies to operate under other jurisdictions. Later, Beijing banned adverts of foreign exchanges on the internet and social networks and advised national banks not to handle deals involving cryptocurrencies.
Most recently, Shanghai police interrupted a blockchain conference. Although it was officially declared that it had been done out of security concerns, the conference participants assumed that police dispersed the conference fearing that the event could serve as a platform for covert ICO road shows.