Iceland is at the forefront of the crypto revolution thanks to its massive renewable energy reserves. As a result, Bitcoin mining thrives in the country and is set to double this year. Mining Bitcoin is an energy-intensive process and operating in a country that has very cheap electricity makes sense for many mining firms.
Unfortunately, every good thing has its drawbacks, and the advantage that Iceland holds so dear is no exception. Though crypto exchange robberies have become a common occurrence in the seemingly “Wild West” crypto world, criminals stepped it up a notch as they went physical and stole 600 mining computers in Iceland.
The computers are said to mine Bitcoins along with other altcoins. This sent shockwaves throughout the crypto community and once again enveloped the innovative technology with fear and skepticism. Authorities labeled the heist the biggest the country has seen throughout its history.
So why bother to steal 600 mining computers if Bitcoins only exist virtually and aren’t tangible? Well, the thieves probably wanted to sell on the mining great, or use it for themselves. The more computers working, the greater amount of Bitcoin you can “mine.”
These computers work 24/7 to solve sophisticated mathematical problems that become increasingly complex through time. They’re basically in a race to solve a problem, and in the process, get rewarded with cryptocurrency when a block is solved.
This requires a lot of processing power, which isn’t practical if you’re only going to use two, three, or even a dozen computers. Top-notch hardware is your greatest asset when you’re into Bitcoin mining — a fact that the thugs knew well.
But these computers aren’t your ordinary desktops. The equipment that was stolen were high-end mining computers worth $2 million. They also said that the stolen machines can still be used to mine a significant number of Bitcoins.
What makes things worse is that there won’t be any way of knowing the identity of the thieves because of the anonymous nature of the system. Reykjanes Police Commissioner Olafur Helgi Kjartansson said that the heist was a highly organized crime carried out by seasoned criminals.
The police, at least, delivered some good news. Two of the eleven suspects remain in custody after the others were released due to lack of evidence. As of now, the two suspects are under investigation in hopes of learning the whereabouts of the stolen computers.
Icelandic authorities are encouraging local electric and internet providers to report unusual spikes in internet activity and power usage. Iceland has lately become the best destination for large-scale crypto mining as 80 percent of its power comes from hydroelectric energy.
This makes electricity in the country very cheap. However, locals fear that this will turn out badly as the energy demands would go beyond the allotted supply. When this happens, then the price of electricity in the country would increase.
Luckily, Iceland is sparsely populated and is home to only 340,000 people. With 600 stolen computers, it may not be so hard to notice them. However, it’s also possible that the stolen supercomputers have already been smuggled to another country.