Malaysian minister says crypto miners behind $722M electricity theft

Illegal Malaysian crypto miners stole $722 million worth of electricity between 2018 and 2023, according to the country’s deputy minister of energy transition and water transformation.

As reported by Malay Mail, Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir revealed the figure at an event to mark the disposal of 2,022 seized items, including bitcoin mining equipment.

“The theft of electricity by those who mine cryptocurrency occurs because they believe this activity cannot be detected due to the absence of meters on their premises,” said Akmal Nasrullah. He added, “Energy supply companies have various methods to detect unusual energy consumption in an area.”

Read more: Europol says alleged crypto miner made millions from stolen electricity

He also claimed that stopping crypto miners from stealing electricity is a priority for Malaysia’s government. This is alongside boosting the production of renewable energy.

According to the minister, crypto miners involved in electricity theft are detrimental to Malaysia’s only utility company, the Tenaga Nasional Berhad, and to Malaysia and its people.  

Electricity theft involves using electricity without paying for it or appropriately registering with the relevant utility company. Individuals can illegally tamper and bypass electricity meters or redirect electricity from a power line. 

Last year a report found that crypto mining and cannabis farms in the UK contributed to a rise in electricity theft. Additionally, a crypto miner arrested by Europol and Ukraine this year was said to have made $2 million mining crypto while stealing electricity. 

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