With the value of cryptocurrencies skyrocketing, many had hopped on the bandwagon in hopes to enjoy the ride of upwards valuation.
However, the technology had been under heavy criticism for contributing to climate change and the scams it brought along.
According to Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief Datuk Seri Abd Jalil Hassan, he said that crypto-related crimes like bitcoin mining have increased significantly in 2021 compared to the previous year.
He said that Malaysia had opened 570 investigation papers in 2021 alone, and had 528 people arrested and RM54 million worth of mining equipment seized in their operations. When compared to 2020, there were only 20 papers opened, 26 people arrested and RM1.26 million worth of equipment seized.
In terms of the value of seized items, it has increased about 4200% from 2020 to 2021.
Abd Jalil Hassan also said that most offenders were between 18 to 30 years old, and the oldest suspect was 61-years-old.
He explained that most crimes happened in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Perak and Penang as the industrial areas there can provide enough electricity for illegal mining. He added that the suspects will find business areas that are hidden so the public won’t hear the noise or feel the heat coming from the mining rigs.
Meanwhile, illegal mining is not the only crime that comes with cryptocurrencies. The other illicit activities include ransomware and Ponzi schemes which often use these digital currencies to hold astounding amounts of stolen money.
In 2021, global crypto crime resulted in USD 14 billion (≈RM58 billion) being stolen, which was up 79% from 2020’s USD 7.8 billion (≈RM32 billion), reaching an all-time high.
How authorities fight against illegal crypto mining?
The bitcoin mining rigs will produce a lot of heat in the process and to find these criminals, TNG now uses drones to detect heat in the air in suspicious areas. These areas normally would have a high electricity usage but low meter readings.
Once the location is found, TNB will deploy their Special Engagement Against Losses (SEAL) team, to get to the ground to verify their findings.
Meanwhile, the EU had been thinking of banning the proof-of-work mining altogether on the grounds of climate disaster. While crypto mining is currently not against the law in Malaysia, it may be in the future if we follow the EU’s steps.
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