A Bitcoin mining operation launched a covert power plant, but things didn’t go as planned

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Photo: Federico Parra (Getty Images)

techno.rentetan.com – Link Global is facing a $5.6 million fine in Canada after being caught by the neighbors. In Canada, a Bitcoin mining business illegally tapped an abandoned natural gas well near an affluent area, creating a There Will Be Blood-style scenario. If it hadn’t been for noise complaints from local hot tub owners, the firm Link Global may have gotten away with stealing gas. This story has it all.

Last autumn, Greystone Manner homeowners began hearing an obnoxious noise that sounded “like an aircraft engine warming up on the tarmac,” according to a CBC News story from August.

“We have a hot tub in the rear,” one resident told CBC News, expressing dissatisfaction with the plane-like noise that was disrupting the calm. They continued, “There’s a price you pay for this type of location.”

According to CBC News, the neighbors gathered and learned that Link Global had failed to notify anybody, including the public utilities commission and the well’s owner, Maga Energy. Taking anything without alerting the owner is theft. The Alberta Utilities Commission is now allegedly pursuing a $5.6 million (USD) fine, as well as penalties, for earnings from energy and bitcoin. It was discovered that the firm ran two under-the-radar power plants, one of which was operational for 426 days.

Four 1.25 MW generators were purportedly fueled by the covert energy facilities, enough to power about 6,000 households in Texas. Alternatively, each of them would consume around 7,400 cubic feet of natural gas each hour.

Bitcoin mining uses huge and continuously increasing amounts of electricity since it is a race to solve a complicated mathematical problem; whoever’s high-powered gear solves the problem first receives a block of 6.25 bitcoins. As a result, any estimate of electricity per bitcoin would be speculative, but according to the New York Times, mining one would require enough energy to run an ordinary family for nine years.

Theft of power is nothing new in the industry. Ukrainian officials are said to have raided a mine earlier this year, accusing it of stealing electricity from the grid. According to a story from England, Malaysian law enforcement smashed over 1,000 devices after discovering their owners had stolen about $2 million in power.

Link Global CEO Stephen Jenkins told Gizmodo in an email that this is very common, and that the covert borrowing was simply a side consequence of negotiating a complex legal situation. “We run on abandoned gas sites and have been working with the utilities commission to get them into compliance,” Jenkins explained, noting that compliance has been “our biggest problem since bitcoin mining is new to the energy regulatory system and going first may be difficult at times.” He stated that the firm has “learned a lot” and that the lessons would be applied in the future.

The Alberta Utilities Commission was unavailable for comment at the time of publication, but according to CBC News, the AUC isn’t buying it. The AUC enforcement team accused Link Global of “willful disregard for the presence of regulatory obligations” in a filing last month.

In November, a hearing will be held.