Cryptocurrencies mining requires a huge amount of power. And since it has become increasingly harder to mine, the cost can be just be too high.
As a solution to this, branch employees of the Ukrainian Railways in the western city of Lviv have been secretly using the power from Ukrzaliznytsia, the country’s state-owned rail transport provider, to operate a Bitcoin mining farm.
The mine was set up in the western Ukrainian city of Ternopil, according to Yevhen Kravtsov, the CEO of Ukrzaliznytsia.
The farm had more than 100 mining equipment, which stole electricity from the power grid of Ukrzaliznytsia, by bypassing the electricity meter in the building, making the energy-intensive process of mining virtually free for the culprits.
This mining operation was said to have cost Ukrzaliznytsia more than $40,000 in electricity bill.
According to the statement on Ukrzaliznytsia's website:
The surreptitious cryptocurrency mining operation was reported by Oleg Nazaruk, the company‘s director of the department of economic and information security, and the verification materials were sent to the Ternopil Police Department of the Main Directorate of the National Police in Ternopil Oblast.
In its notice, Ukrzaliznytsia highlighted that devising and circulating cryptocurrency is prohibited by the country’s central bank.
The use of cryptocurrencies is not allowed in Ukraine, but mining is under-regulated and remains more attractive than in most European countries, due to the fact that Ukraine has cheaper electricity costs.
As a result, many illegal miners have made a home in the country, despite the government prohibited them from operating.
In the week preceding the cryptomining bust, the volume of Bitcoins traded in Ukraine was over $340,000, according to Coin Dance, a community-driven Bitcoin statistics and services. The annual revenue generated by the Ukrainian cryptocurrency mining industry amounts to over $100 million, according to Bitcoin.com.
Previously, it was reported that an individual with high-level access to parts of the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant placed mining machines at one of its administrative buildings and powered the machines by stealing electricity from the local grid.
Ukraine has been working on bringing in comprehensive cryptocurrency regulation. Cryptocurrency exchange Binance was said to be assisting Ukraine with developing rules for the industry.