Iceland Reports “Big Bitcoin Heist”
Almost $2 million worth of cryptocurrency mining equipment has reportedly been stolen by eleven individuals in Iceland. The accused, which include a security guard, have now been arrested by local authorities, according to several reports. The equipment is said to have been the property of data centers operating in the Nordic island country.
This incident is being called the “Big Bitcoin Heist” by Iceland’s media outlets. Apparently, the real issue seems to be concerning the equipment allegedly used to mine the Bitcoins, and not so much the “earned” Bitcoins. Moreover, a judge in the country’s Reykjanes District Court ordered two individuals, linked to the heist, to remain in custody, as the investigation proceeds.
Multiple Burglaries in December and January
So far, it has been confirmed that there were four separate incidents during which the mining equipment was reportedly stolen. Three of the burglaries took place in December and one happened in January, according to the Associated Press. Local law enforcement also said that two of the burglaries occurred on the Reykjanes peninsula.
While speaking about the heists, police commissioner Olafur Helgi Kjartansson noted that,
“This is a grand theft on a scale unseen before. Everything points to this being a highly organized crime.”
Other findings of the investigation state that approximately 600 powerful computers were stolen during the burglaries. Notably, these types of crypto-related heists are becoming increasingly common. As Core Media reported on February 23rd, Taiwanese authorities arrested four men linked to a violent Bitcoin robbery, during which they reportedly forced the victims to transfer a large number of Bitcoins to their own wallets.
Cryptocurrency Mining Is Popular In Iceland
Renewable energy is readily and cheaply available in Iceland. Since mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies consumes a lot of electricity, the island country is an ideal place for this type of activity. In fact, a type of “bitcoin gold rush” is going on in the Nordic nation. That’s because crypto enthusiasts looking for cheap energy have been moving to Iceland, so that they can mine cryptocurrencies at a much more affordable cost.
However, due to the heists, Icelandic law enforcement agencies are keeping a close watch on the country’s energy consumption, in order to track down the stolen equipment. Presumably, tracing locations with abnormally high electricity usage could help in finding the missing mining computers, and possibly even more criminals that could be connected to this “organized crime.”