Massive bitcoin mine discovered in the U.K. after police raid suspected cannabis farm


June 01, 2021: -An illegal bitcoin mine has been found by police in the U.K. looking for a cannabis farm.

On Thursday, the mine located in an industrial unit on the outskirts of the English city of Birmingham stole thousands of pounds worth of electricity from the mains supply, West Midlands Police said.

Police searched the unit in Sandwell on the back of intelligence that led them to believe it was used as a cannabis farm.

Many people visited the unit at various points of the day, police said, adding lots of wiring and ventilation ducts visible. A police drone also detected a lot of heat that came from the building.

These are all “classic signs” of a cannabis farm, police said. However, officers found a bank of around 100 computers and zero cannabis on entering the building.

“It’s certainly not what we were expecting,” Jennifer Griffin, Sandwell police sergeant, said.

“It had all the hallmarks of a cannabis cultivation set-up, and I believe it’s only the second like crypto mine we’ve encountered in the West Midlands.”

Bitcoin miners use purpose-built computers to solve complex mathematical equations that enable a bitcoin transaction to go through effectively. The miners are awarded for their efforts in the digital currency.

However, the entire process is incredibly energy-intensive because of the amount of power used by computers. Bitcoin has a carbon footprint comparable to that of New Zealand annually, which produces 36.95 megatons of CO2, according to Digiconomist.

“My understanding is that mining for cryptocurrency is not itself illegal but abstracting electricity from the mains supply to power it is,” Griffin said.

The computer equipment has been seized, but they did not arrest.

On Wednesday, the government of Iran announced a ban on mining bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as officials blame the energy-intensive process for blackouts in several Iranian cities.

Globally around 4.5% of all bitcoin mining took place in Iran amid January and April of this year, according to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic. That put it among the top 10 globally, while China came in first place at nearly 70%.

China’s Inner Mongolia region is planning to ban new cryptocurrency mining projects and shut down existing activity to cut down on the energy-consuming operation.

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