Unlawful Crypto Mining Unearthed in Russia’s Oldest Prison, Warden Accused of Electricity Theft

The matter came to light after mining equipment were spotted inside a psychiatric clinic run by the Federal Penitentiary Service at the prison.

Unlawful Crypto Mining Unearthed in Russia’s Oldest Prison, Warden Accused of Electricity Theft

Photo Credit: Pixabay / Sergey Gorbachev

Russia is looking to legalise crypto mining with appropriate laws

Highlights
  • Butyrka prison is located in central Moscow
  • Mining equipment spotted inside a psychiatric clinic run by prison
  • Details on warden facing inquiry and related accomplices remain unclear

Russia's oldest prison, called the Butyrka, has emerged as a site for unlawful crypto mining activities. A prison warden belonging to a high rank has also been accused of stealing electricity from other parts of the prison, in order to facilitate crypto mining from within the facility. Built in central Moscow back in 1771, Butyrka is over 250 years old and houses up to 2,000 inmates. As for now, police investigation into the crypto mining activities inside the jail has been opened.

The matter came to light after mining equipment were spotted inside a psychiatric clinic run by the Federal Penitentiary Service at the prison.

The probing officers suspect that crypto generation from inside the prison has been going on since November 2021, Bitcoin.com said in a report.

Over 8,400 kW of electricity is estimated to have used between November 2021 and February this year, by people who were minting cryptocurrencies from inside the government facility. In a wider picture, the government of Russia actually paid for the electricity that was diverted to facilitate crypto mining operations in the prison.

As for now, details on the warden facing an inquiry and related accomplices in the case remain unclear.

The procedure of crypto mining is infamous for consuming huge amounts of electricity and disrupting the power supply of regions.

Several areas around the world including China, Kazakhstan, and Georgia's Svaneti town have been crippled under power shortages caused by crypto mining.

Russia however, is looking to legalise crypto mining so that energy production in the required capacity is carried out without disrupting the lives and industrial activities of its citizens.

In January this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin had noted that the country does have advantages in the mining of cryptocurrencies.

Back in March, Russian Deputy Minister of Energy Evgeny Grabchak also batted in favour of ‘eliminating legal vacuum' and regulating crypto mining during the first national conference of legal crypto miners in Russia's Irkutsk region.

Grabchak has said that it is essential to identify appropriate mining sites in the country and manage electricity keeping crypto mining requirements in mind, especially at the regional levels.


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Radhika Parashar
Radhika Parashar is a senior correspondent for Gadgets 360. She has been reporting on tech and telecom for the last three years now and will be focussing on writing about all things crypto. Besides this, she is a major sitcom nerd and often replies in Chandler Bing and Michael Scott references. For tips or queries you could reach out to her at RadhikaP@ndtv.com. More
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