Bitcoin mine discovered in alleged illegal cannabis farm
The UK police have just been investigating what they think is the possible location for a cannabis farm and made a surprising discovery in the process – an illegal Bitcoin mine.
For those who don’t know, a bitcoin mine is a data hub that sometimes performs illegal bitcoin transactions. This bitcoin mine was found on the outskirts of Birmingham in an industrial area. The reason it was mistaken for illegal cannabis cultivation is because they stole a lot of electricity and the place was classified as generating a lot of heat.
After first discovering a place that generated a lot of heat, police raided the area on May 18, expecting to discover illegal cannabis cultivation. They also observed the place and saw many people visiting the unit at different points in the day. They also observed wiring and ventilation ducts that provided more support than there was a fan inside that was ventilated to aid plant growth.
During the surveillance, the police also noticed a distinct pattern and specific signs that led them to believe that something triggered was happening. They named the heat, the vents, and the presence of people opening up in “classic signs” of a cannabis farm. A police drone was used to keep an eye on things.
After all these signs, the police were very surprised to finally go in and discover 100 computers and no traces of cannabis at all.
“It’s certainly not what we expected,” Sandwell police sergeant Jennifer Griffin said in a statement. “It had all the hallmarks of growing cannabis and I think it’s just the second crypto mine we’ve seen in the West Midlands.”
Electricity was stolen to power the Bitcoin mine
Without getting too technical – we’re cannabis experts, not bitcoin experts, after all – the miners use computers to solve complex equations that enforce a bitcoin transaction. The “miners” are then paid for their efforts in digital currency.
While this sounds like something a tech savvy person could do from home, because of the energy intensity of the process, it will have to go old school and be set up in a warehouse that can handle the amount of electricity it needs. Since Bitcoin has a carbon footprint comparable to that of New Zealand, more than a landline or WiFi connection is required to keep something like this going.
And while this is not necessarily an illegal activity, the stolen energy is definitely considered illegal in the UK. “My understanding is that mining cryptocurrency itself is not illegal, it is clearly drawing electricity from electricity to electricity,” Griffin said.
At that time, computer equipment was confiscated to stop its operations, but no arrests have been made to date. And it might only be a matter of time before bitcoin mining and cryptocurrency mining in general are banned worldwide. This week, Iran took a step to ban it, blaming the energy used to mine Bitcoin for several power outages that have occurred in Iranian cities.
Iran is also an area where a lot of Bitcoin is mined. Between January and April of this year, around 4.5 percent of all mining worldwide took place there. This makes it one of the ten largest countries in the world for mining. China came first. But it seems that people all over the world are doing this, and it is not an isolated incident. China is also expected to ban cryptocurrency mining and shut down those that are currently in operation.
It looks like crypto could crack down on the UK, and unfortunately cannabis growing is still on the police hit list in this illegitimate country. Let’s hope for more positive changes soon!