Police Seize $1.5 Million in Crypto During FIFA Gambling Crackdown


Local police officials in China seized more than $1.5 million worth of cryptocurrencies as part of a crackdown on gambling during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Chinese state-run media outlet Xinhua reported on July 11 that authorities first noticed the unnamed gambling platform in May following advertisements that claimed it would «accept international recognized cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ether and litecoin» in order to draw in users. An investigation was launched soon after, according to the outlet.

The special investigation team discovered that the site, based overseas, utilized a traditional online gambling model coupled with cryptocurrency payments. Xinhua cited «regulatory loopholes» by which the site was able to secure profits by hiding proceeds using those currencies.

All told, over the course of eight months, some 333,000 users used the site, which reportedly saw an estimated transaction volume of at least $1.5 billion.

Now, authorities have arrested six organizers of the site and confiscated $1.5 million worth of cryptocurrencies as well as $750,000 in renminbi deposits from their bank accounts.

A spokesperson from the police department in Guangdong province said that the task force will continue working to«maintain a highly concentrated attention» on cracking down online soccer gambling and advised soccer fans to watch the games «rationally and consciously.»

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.»