The Datong Railway Transport Court in China’s Shanxi province has sentenced a man for stealing power from a train station to mine Bitcoin, according to local media reports.
The man, known as Xu Xinghua, was sent to jail for three-and-a-half years for stealing electricity from one of the factories at Kouquan Railway in November and December of 2017 for his mining operations. He also was fined 100,000 yuan (around $14,500), according to a report from local newspaper The Paper.
The court documents, published October 8, show that Xinghua had stolen electricity from the pole near the West Second Plant of the Kouquan Railway to power his 50 Bitcoin mining machines and three electric fans. The mining machines and the electric fans were operating for 24 hours. During the period, five mining machines were damaged, according to the local paper.
As of April 2018, Xinghua mined 3.2 Bitcoins, earning 120,000 yuan (about $17,400), and the cost of the electricity was 104,000 yuan.
The court also ordered Xinghua to pay all electricity bills and authorities confiscated all of his mining equipment.
In April of this year, Xinhuanet reported that a group of six people was arrested by police for stealing electricity from a local power grid station to mine Bitcoin using 600 mining computers.
Bitcoin Mining Is a High Power-Consuming Process
Bitcoin mining requires high-performance computers, a stable internet, and a reliable supply of electricity. So, it’s not an easy-to-start business for an average citizen. For a profitable business, you need to make a heavy investment in equipment, cooling and storage.
One of the biggest challenges in Bitcoin mining is a consistent supply of electricity. You need an average 18,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of power to mine a single Bitcoin.
A study published in Joule had suggested that Bitcoin mining is becoming a big consumer of electricity, consuming more power than Ireland in a year. The estimated power use of the Bitcoin mining network is 30.14 TWh per year, more than the power consumed by 19 European countries.