Bitcoin Bandits Steal 600 Mining Machines


Local media are dubbing it the "Big Bitcoin Heist", after a series of large-scale robberies saw about 600 computers worth up to $2 million that are used to mine Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were stolen from data centers in Iceland.

"This is a grand theft on a scale unseen before", Reykjanes police chief Olafur Helgi Kjartansson said, AP reports.

"Everything points to this being a highly organized crime", he said.

Eleven people, including a security guard, were arrested in Iceland in connection with the theft of nearly $2 million worth of cryptocurrency-mining equipment from local data centers.

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The servers themselves were lifted during three robberies in December previous year and one in January. Running a mining server farm, however, does require a significant amount of energy and the police are hoping that they might be able to track down the thieves by looking for unusual spikes in power consumption. Police decided not to announce the crimes in an effort to find the thieves. A judge at the Reykjanes District Court on Friday ordered two people to remain in custody.

Eleven people have been arrested in relation to the theft, including a security guard at one of the locations equipment was stolen from, although most of it hasn't yet been found.

Cryptocurrency is created by using powerful computers to solve complex mathematical problems. Drumming up that computational power usually means lots of computers - and thus lots of electricity. Traders searching for cheap, renewable energy have been flooding into the island in recent months to take advantage of its geothermal and hydroelectric power plants.