Indonesian authorities conducted raids on ten locations suspected of illicitly mining bitcoin using electricity stolen from the national grid during the Christmas weekend. While Indonesia has been rapidly embracing cryptocurrencies, it isn’t typically recognized as a prominent mining center. Nonetheless, by Indonesian laws, stealing electricity constitutes a criminal offense carrying a potential punishment of up to five years imprisonment or a fine that could reach twice the value of the unpaid electricity.
Unlike its neighbor Malaysia, where several arrests have been made for electricity theft linked to crypto mining, this incident marks one of the initial reported cases within Indonesia. The operation in Medan, North Sumatra, led to the discovery of 1,314 bitcoin rigs, and authorities apprehended 26 individuals. These suspects purportedly siphoned off electricity by tapping into utility poles owned by the state-run electricity company PLN over the course of six months. This unlawful usage amounted to approximately 14.4 billion Indonesian rupiah ($100,000) in losses for the state.
While this sum might appear modest, it translates to roughly 10 million kilowatt hours at prevailing local energy rates, equivalent to the annual energy consumption of approximately 7,500 individuals in the country. An official from PLN disclosed to a local news outlet that the company intends to collaborate with authorities on similar cases.
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