A large facility that was illegally mining bitcoin was uncovered by police in the city of Orenburg, Russia. The farm had been established on the propriety of an abandoned factory. The masterminds that devised the project have consumed electricity worth 60 million rubles.
The Biggest Mining Operation in Russia
Seeing as there was an unusually high consumption of electricity in the area, the police of Orenburg came started their investigations and stumbled upon one of the biggest facilities dedicated to cryptocurrency mining in the country. The miners have set up their farm illegally in a closed-down factory, suppling their mining hardware with power from the nearby transformer station.
The Russian media described the place like “a scene from The Matrix”, investigators finding dozens of racks of mining processors. The farm had powerful application specific circuits, and state-of-the art video cards, which you will not find in the rigs of amateur miners.
The ASIC devices were most likely used for mining bitcoin, as they could have generated the necessary computing power for processing the transactions. ASICs consume huge amount of electric power and produce a lot of heat. The cooling required was assured by large industrial ventilators.
The mining operation was found out after employees of the local utility company noticed that the old factory was consuming suspicious amounts of electricity. The factory was a state-owned enterprise that was out of business for years.
According to estimates reported by Ren TV, the mining equipment had consumed electricity worth 60 million rubles (more than $1 million). The miners never paid their electric bill. If they are found guilty police, they may risk up to 10 years of imprisonment.
Industrial Scale Mining
Cryptocurrency mining has become very popular in Russia due to low electricity costs. But in spite of the police’s efforts to keep mining out of garages and apartments, many Russians have tried to set up their own GPU rigs. A number of fires have that have occurred because of faulty hardware have been covered in Russian media, with the most recent incident being caused by a pensioner in Vologda.
However, recent reports suggest that amateur mining is not all that profitable anymore. A few Russian regions have offered their support, being willing to host industrial-scale mining facilities. In Leningrad Oblast, authorities have invited miners to a nuclear power plant that will be put out of use in a couple of years. The project has already been approved by the local Economic Department and the company operating the power plant.
The Russian Federation seems to be willing to accommodate investors that want to get into cryptocurrency mining. Homes and businesses use less than 60% of the electricity the country can generate.
The bitcoin farm that was operating in Orenburg, though, was not approved by any government institution. Authorities support crypto mining on an industrial scale, but racks of mining hardware in a run-down rubber processing plant is not quite what they had in mind. But, in spite of this, the illegal farm is currently one of the biggest mining operations in Russia.