UK police found an illegal bitcoin mine looking for a cannabis farm.
The mine, located in an industrial unit on the outskirts of the English city of Birmingham, was stealing thousands of pounds of electricity from the power grid, West Midlands police said on Thursday.
Police searched the unit in Sandwell on May 18 backed by intelligence information that led them to believe it was being used as a cannabis farm.
Many people visited the unit at various times of the day, police said, adding that there were numerous ventilation ducts and wiring visible. A police drone also detected a lot of heat coming from the building.
These are all classic signs of a cannabis farm, police said. However, officers found a bank of around 100 computers and zero cannabis upon entering the building.
It’s certainly not what we expected, Jennifer Griffin, Sandwell police sergeant, said in a statement. It had all the hallmarks of a cannabis growing facility and I think it is only the second crypto mine of its kind that we found in the West Midlands.
Bitcoin miners use specially designed computers to solve complex mathematical equations that allow a Bitcoin transaction to be carried out effectively.
However, the whole process consumes a lot of energy due to the amount of energy that computers use. Bitcoin has a carbon footprint comparable to New Zealand’s, producing 36.95 megatons of CO2 per year, according to Digiconomist.
My understanding is that mining crypto is not illegal in and of itself, but clearly draws electricity from the power grid to power it, Griffin said.
Polise seized all equipment Computer, but no arrests have been made.
On Wednesday, the government of Iran announced a ban on mining bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, as officials blame the energy-intensive process for blackouts in several Iranian cities.
About 4.5% of all bitcoin mining globally took place in Iran between January and April this year, according to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic. That put it in the top 10 in the world, while China ranked first with almost 70%.
China’s Inner Mongolia region plans to ban new cryptocurrency mining projects and shut down existing activity in a bid to reduce energy-consuming operation.