Russia may be mining crypto in a prison from the 18th century. Here's how it works

Old meets new at a Russian prison that was built in 1771.
Ameya Paleja
The photo credit line may appear like thisFrankvandenBergh/iStock

The deputy warden at Russia's Butyrskaya prison in central Moscow is allegedly under the scanner for setting up a crypto mining farm on the prison premises, Bitcoin.com reported.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have the world divided. While the government in El Salvador has welcomed the Bitcoin, those in power in China are dead set against them and have ordered crackdowns against their mining. Russia has found the altcoin helpful to navigate sanctions imposed for its aggressive actions in Ukraine. While it has been considering it as a legal currency, an old prison has been reportedly found to be a crypto mining destination in the capital city. 

Cashing in on utilities paid for by the government

In the past, we reported on the unlikeliest of places being converted into crypto mining centers. Whether it be a Tesla or an entire power plant, crypto fans have found some innovative ways to keep their hunt for new coins going. 

The prison in Moscow, though, isn't a dilapidated structure that fell into the rogue hands. Built in 1771, the prison is very much functional even today, and the mining operation was allegedly run in the psychiatric clinic set up by the Federal Penitentiary Service in the country. 

According to the report, the operation had not been on for very long. The equipment had been installed only in November last year, the peak of Bitcoin's rally, and had remained operational till February when the price of a Bitcoin stabilized to about $40,000. We do not know why the operations at the mine ceased but in the short duration they were run, approximately 8,400 kW of electricity was used and the bill of 62,000 roubles (US$ 1,000) was footed by the government. 

The deputy warden is reportedly being investigated for this cause. However, his accomplices in this operation are yet to be identified. 

Crypto mining wreaks havoc on electricity grids

Based on the information available, the operation did not run for very long or consume too much power. However, crypto mining has become an attractive source of income in Russia, especially in areas where power is subsidized. 

Russian law enforcement agencies have reportedly been conducting raids in the country to seize equipment from illegal mining farms after complaints of grid failures and blackouts. So far, over 1,500 rigs have been reportedly recovered. One farm was allegedly being run at the pumping station of the national water supply utility.   

This isn't an issue in Russia alone. Illegal miners have been found to be stealing energy in Malaysia, Kazakhstan as well as in CanadaThis is likely to continue till the world figures out a way to mine Bitcoin in a cost-effective and sustainable way. But never have we seen a correctional facility being used to mine Bitcoin. 

Guess Bitcoin fans are everywhere! 

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