Police in West Midlands thought they had found a cannabis plantation, they discovered a bitcoin farm. A legal device, except that it was fed from the domestic electricity network in the suburbs of Birmingham.
« Many people were visiting the hangar at different times of the day, lots of wires and ventilation were visible outside, and a police drone identified a source of considerable heat. When she thought about grabbing an indoor cannabis plantation, la police de West Midlands, in England, discovered an artisanal bitcoin farm. Located in a hangar, it consisted of a hundred machines arranged on shelves, connected by numerous cables and connected to an imposing ventilation system. The role of these computers? Miner bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency.
In summary, this activity consists of putting computer computing resources at the service of a blockchain (that of bitcoin, or another cryptocurrency). These calculations will be used to verify the validity of several transactions made on the blockchain, and therefore to secure it. Once a certain number of operations have been validated, the network constitutes a block, and the machines which participated in its creation are rewarded with a small amount of cryptocurrency.
In other words, the more computer resources – and therefore computers – you allocate to this task, the more bitcoins you will earn. But beware, mining does not necessarily lead to a benefit, because it has several significant costs: that of GPUs, the processors responsible for making the calculations, which are very busy and therefore quickly worn out by mining, as well as that of the consumption of electricity, very voracious. As a result, mining from their personal computer is unprofitable, which is why some are setting up farms, like the one discovered by the West Midlands police. They can thus put optimal conditions there and accumulate calculation machines.
Illegal electricity consumption
In the case, the police seized the material discovered, but made no arrest – no one was at the scene at the time of the intervention. She only plans to interview the owner of the premises.
One might wonder about the seizure, because mining bitcoin is not an illegal activity. On the other hand, the police considered that such an assembly was of the industrial order and that he did not have the right to connect to the electricity network intended for domestic use. For good reason, the extremely high consumption of cryptocurrency farms – possibly
re close to that of factories – would risk producing breakdowns in homes. As CNBC reminds us, it is this danger that prompted Iran to ban all cryptocurrency mining. It would have become so intensive that it would have caused various blackouts in the main cities of the country.
This news item is symptomatic of the stronger than ever rush for cryptocurrencies. While the local police had never seen such a farm, this is the second they discover in no time. More generally, mining leads to a shortage of computer components that seems endless and affects sectoral giants from several industries.
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