Security Service Shuts Down Crypto Mining Farm Near Kharkiv

An illegal crypto mining operation was consuming electricity on an industrial scale.

Credit: Bywire News, Canva
Credit: Bywire News, Canva
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LONDON (Bywire News) - Ukraine’s main law enforcement agency has found and shut down an illegal crypto mining facility in the Kharkiv region. Those operating the farm have been minting coins with stolen electricity which provides a threatening supply to Ukraine’s critical infrastructure according to the agency.

Officers from the Security Service of Ukraine closed down an underground mining operation in the eastern region of Kharkiv which is a scene of military hostilities in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. 

The SBU’s Cyber Securities Department, alongside the national police of Ukraine under the supervision of the Kyiv Holosiiv District Prosecutor's Office, carried out the operation.

A press release published on Thursday claimed that the farm has consumed industrial volumes of unpaid electricity worth thousands of hryvnia. 

Ukrainian authorities added that the mining operation could have caused serious interruptions in the energy supply to facilities and infrastructures near the front line.

Investigators discovered that the mining hardware was installed by some local residents in a warehouse near Kharkiv which is Ukraine’s second-largest city. They also connected their mining equipment to the grid without any authorization.

Agents of the Security Service seized computers and a range of specialised equipment during their searches alongside any evidence of illegal activity.

The suspected organizers of the mining operation will be notified as part of the pre-trial followed by the case being reviewed in court.

Ukraine has recently become a regional leader in crypto adoption with attempts to legalize transactions with virtual assets. However, crypto mining certainly would need further regulation as the understanding of the sector is still limited.

The SBU has been diligent in its pursuit of mincers exploiting the state's electricity network and they have shut down several crypto firms in the last year. Other illegal crypto activity has been targeted for areas of enforcement as several online crypto exchanges were blocked for allegedly sending money to Russian wallets last year.

(Writing by Samba Jallow, editing by Klaudia Fior and Tom Cropper)

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