A woman in Tangshan, North China's Hebei Province will be spending the next four months in detention for stealing electricity to mine bitcoins.
A worker checks on bitcoin mining equipment at a facility in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Southwest China's Sichuan Province. (Photo: VCG)
Chang Guifeng, who is in her 60s, set up four powerful computers that she used to mine bitcoins in her deceased father's home where she used electricity without paying for it, the National Business Daily reported on Thursday.
Over a nine-month period in 2018, Chang stole 17,277 kilowatt-hours of electricity worth around 9,000 yuan ($1,300), likely ten times more than the usual power charges for a single-family apartment. She also made a 6,500-yuan profit selling the bitcoins she mined, reported the newspaper.
Chang has turned over the profits she made and the required fine but it's not known how many bitcoins Chang had actually mined with her computers that continuously make high-speed calculations 24 hours a day.
The power consumption required to mine a bitcoin is estimated to be as high as 40,000 kilowatt-hours, leading many such miners to attempt to pinch the power they use.
A headmaster of a primary school in Chenzhou, Central China's Hunan Province, set up seven machines in the school's computer lab to mine Ethers, another virtual currency. He was not discovered until other teachers became suspicious of the spiking electricity costs, Xiaoxiang Morning Herald reported in November 2018.
The headmaster was dismissed from his position.
China's top economic planner in April labeled virtual currency "mining" an industry to be "eliminated."