Highly Organized Crime Blamed for $2mil Bitcoin Mining Burglaries

Highly Organized Crime Blamed for $2mil Bitcoin Mining Burglaries

Local police in Iceland are describing it as the largest theft of its kind, if not ever, for the country. Hundreds of bitcoin mining computers were stolen from data centers, and there is worry the missing equipment could be used rather than sold, providing a tidy profit for what authorities are insisting is “highly organized crime.”

Also read: Germany Treads Lightly on Bitcoin Taxation

Iceland Might Have an Organized Crime Problem

Police commissioner Olafur Helgi Kjartansson told the Associated Press (AP) “This is a grand theft on a scale unseen before. Everything points to this being a highly organized crime.” Mr. Kjartansson was speaking of four data center burglaries in Reykjavik, Iceland, resulting in 600 bitcoin mining rigs, 100 power sources, 100 motherboards, 100 memory discs, and 100 CPUs stolen. It amounts to 2 million USD in booty.

Furthermore, police have pronounced the affair as “the biggest series of thefts ever in the North Atlantic island nation,” according to the AP. Computers referred to as “powerful” remain at large, though eleven people have been arrested in connection, including a security guard. Two of the group are still in custody as of this writing.

Highly Organized Crime Blamed for $2mil Bitcoin Mining Burglaries
Olafur Helgi Kjartansson

As News.Bitcoin.com reported, Iceland has become a boom area for crypto mining due to the relative cold (great for equipment) and low electricity costs. In fact, mining is so ubiquitous, the industry’s energy consumption is expected to be more than 340,000 households on the island. And as bitcoin’s price stabilizes and/or rises, and its inflation rate slows by design, mining needs ever-more powerful equipment to earn more profit. It might be incentive enough to burgle data centers.

Authorities worry aloud about the rigs remaining unrecovered, as perhaps rather than resell the equipment, those in possession could begin earning bitcoin. And considering the number of rigs stolen, the profit could be substantial.

Police are flouting the caper in an effort to bring wider attention in the country for internet providers, storage centers, and excessive power usage as ways of catching up to the perpetrators who operated actively over two months, beginning in December and continuing through January. Local media also report at least one of the data centers, Advania Data, believe it very likely security camera images might give police enough clues to bring further arrests.  

Eyjólfur Magnús Kristinsson, CEO of Advania Data, concluded, “I think it’s very likely that the information has come to the police.”

Do you think bitcoin mining burglaries could become a trend? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comments below.


Images via Pixabay.


At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.