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.»

Chinese Blockchain Funding Center Plan Scrapped Over Regulatory Issues

The Investment Association of China (IAC) has scrapped a previously reported plan to launch a funding center to boost blockchain development in the country.

In an announcement Tuesday, the IAC, a government-led social organization that facilities major domestic investment projects, explained that the administrative structure of the new initiative may be in conflict with code currently enforced by China's Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The statement pointed to the issue that a social organization can not establish further subsidiaries under its existing sub-committee, according to the ministry's rules. However, the IAC has yet to clarify whether the initiative might still be implemented via an alternative structure.

The IAC first announced the initiative — dubbed the Global Blockchain Investment and Development Center — in mid-March, with plans for it to be overseen by the organization's Foreign Investment Committee.

According to CoinDesk's report at the time, the new center had been intended to provide the necessary funding for blockchain projects seen to have high potential in China after the IAC observed the growing popularity of the technology in the country. Other areas of focus were said to be providing consulting services to institutions interested in investing in blockchain initiatives.

Founded in 2001, the IAC reports directly to China's National Development and Reform Commission, a major government agency in charge of economic and investment reform in the country.