In the UK hamlet of Sandwell, a police investigation looking for a cannabis farm uncovered a Bitcoin mining farm, which was illegally stealing electricity.
According to reports, officers had apparently received a tip-off at the Great Bridge Industrial Estate, located in Sandwell, and broke in exactly on 18 May.
But of course, the stir occurred when police found a Bitcoin mining farm, instead of cannabis plants, about 100 computer units in size.
In essence, law enforcement had to shut down mining activities, as the cryptocurrency mining farm was stealing electricity to the tune of thousands of pounds. Specifically, they seized all computer equipment, but without making any arrests.
It is no coincidence that the Western Power Distribution network operator was involved in the investigation and discovered that the electricity supply had been bypassed.
The excessive heat coming from the building and the coming and going of people both day and night made the police suspicious. In this regard, Sergeant Jennifer Griffin said that given the signs, they expected to find a cannabis farm.
“It had all the characteristics of a cannabis farm and I think it’s only the second crypto mining farm we’ve encountered in the West Midlands.”
Bitcoin, mining farms and electricity: the Cambridge University study
The fact that Bitcoin mining affects the environment due to its high electricity consumption is nothing new. Its basic protocol, Proof-of-Work, requires entire hardware, machines and warehouses, connected to the network, to actively participate in confirming transactions and thus mining BTC and other crypto assets.
In addition to running Bitcoin’s blockchain, miners are investing huge amounts of capital in order to stay relevant in view of the ever-increasing computing power required by the system.
A study by the University of Cambridge, the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, identified Bitcoin’s energy consumption by comparing it to others.
Speaking in units of Terawatt-hours (TWh), the study states that the electricity used for Bitcoin mining represents 0.46% of total energy production, and 0.52% of total energy consumption.
In terms of renewables, however, the world’s total production of 3 types of energy could power the entire Bitcoin network in different values. Hydro energy would power it by 36 times, biofuel and waste energy by 5 times and solar, wind and others by 12 times.
Not only that, if Bitcoin were a country, the study revealed that it would consume more energy than the Netherlands and the Philippines and less than the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan.
A final “fun” fact in the report refers to the amount of electricity consumed each year by always-on but idle household devices, referring to the US alone, which would account for 1.9 years of energy consumption per Bitcoin.
In addition to the aforementioned study, there are many activities that aim precisely to safeguard mining farms, turning them into environmentally sustainable ones, dispelling the myth that “Bitcoin destroys the planet”.