Chinese Police Arrest Crypto Miner for Power Theft

Authorities in China have arrested a man for allegedly stealing a significant amount of power in order to fuel a clandestine cryptocurrency mine.

Police in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui Province seized more than 200 computers used for bitcoin and ether mining after the local power grid company reported a spike in electricity use, according to Xinhua news agency.

One suspect allegedly stole 150,000 kW hours of electricity between April and May 2018, when the power grid first alerted police of the theft. The Chinese national, identified only by his surname Ma, reportedly told police that he dreamed of making money through crypto mining.

He bought the hardware in April, but later found out the daily power cost was over 6,000 yuan ($921). As a result, Ma said, his mining operation was not profitable at the time of his arrest.

Allegations of power theft have led to the arrest of bitcoin miners in China before. In April, there were at least two cases where bitcoin miners were taken into custody for allegedly stealing power, as previously reported by CoinDesk.

In another instance, six individuals were arrested in Tianjin. Police alleged that the suspects used 600 cryptocurrency miners to generate bitcoin with power taken from the local power grid. Xinhua News agency said that this may have been the «largest power theft case in recent years.»

China's Xi Endorses Blockchain As 'Breakthrough' in Economic Reform

Chinese President Xi Jinping has acknowledged the potential of blockchain in a speech this week, endorsing the nascent technology for the first time in public.

Speaking at an annual academic conference hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences on Monday, Xi made a remark that blockchain is a critical part of the 21st century technology revolution that China should seize to thrive in the global economy.

He told the audience:

«Ever since the start of the 21st century, a new generation of industrial revolution is substantially reshaping the global economic structure...with artificial intelligence, internet of things and blockchain constantly making application breakthroughs.»

Xi further noted that in order to thrive in the global economic competition, China will initiate national laboratories with high standards to foster research and development of technology infrastructure.

Though Xi did not offer fine detail on how blockchain should be used, his comment came just days after the Chinese government's central administrative branch also mentioned blockchain in a top level missive.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, China's State Council ordered the country's Guangdong Free-trade Zone to accelerate blockchain development and application as part of the region's economic reform.

In fact, the State Council has already introduced the concept of blockchain as part of an information technology reformation strategy in the country's 13th five-year economic development plan from 2016 to 2020.

Universities to Build Blockchain DAO for Affordable Education

A group of top-tier Chinese universities in China is planning to build a decentralized, blockchain-powered organization aimed to make educational resources more accessible and affordable.

Led by Tsinghua x-lab, the innovation incubator at China's Tsinghua University, along with several other educational institutions such as the Peking and Zhejiang universities, the initiative was revealed on Sunday.

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China's Official Government Auditor Is Looking at Blockchain Solutions

China's government auditor thinks blockchain can «open up a window» to more streamlined data storage.

In an article published Tuesday on its website, the National Audit Office of the People's Republic of China discussed using blockchain to alleviate the bottleneck caused by its current data storage infrastructure. At present, the office is responsible for a massive amount of data, which it believes can be stored more efficiently on a decentralized ledger.

The National Audit Office, as one of the 29 cabinet-level departments in China's State Council, examines all government-related financial transactions, ranging from administration expenses to individual public programs. It also supervises provincial and municipal level auditing bureaus that have their own designated commissioners.

Envisioning a decentralized system that would have every local office and accredited auditor as an individual node, the article states that a blockchain can reduce the central government's workload while ensuring a traceable ledger that timestamps every transaction at all levels.

While still theoretical, the article offers a window into the thinking of a state-level government body in China regarding blockchain technology. It remains to be seen whether any work will actually go into developing this theoretical system.

According to the article, the need for decentralization stems from the existing operational model adopted by the central office, which is the only department that stores every piece of data reported by its commissioners at the provincial and municipal levels.

«Since bureaus at these levels do not keep the data, the National Audit Office runs into the situation where we have to expand our software and hardware capacity indefinitely — which is a 'vicious circle,'» the Office wrote, concluding:

«The concept of blockchain and technology will offer us a window into solving [the] basket of problems mentioned above.»