Thousands of PS4s seized in Ukraine in illegal cryptocurrency mining sting


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SBU

Thousands of PlayStation 4 gaming consoles have been seized after their discovery in an old warehouse, used to illicitly mine for cryptocurrency.

Ukraine’s Security Service said last week that in the city of Vinnytsia, located along the Southern Bug river, there was an abandoned warehouse in its industrial area that once belonged to an electricity company, JSC Vinnytsiaoblenergo. 

Upon entry, law enforcement found what it has called the country’s “largest underground cryptocurrency farm.”

In total, roughly 3,800 gaming consoles were rigged together and stored on metal racks — and over 500 graphics cards and 50 processors were also found. 

The hardware was allegedly used to facilitate cryptocurrency mining, while those apparently responsible stole the electricity required from the city. 

Current estimates suggest that the electricity stolen amounts from between $186,200 to $259,300 per month. 

Raids took place at the cryptocurrency farm and Ukrainian police also say that searches took place at the “offender’s residences,” where draft notes on electricity usage, notebooks, handsets, and USB storage devices were also seized. 

In a statement (translated), JSC Vinnytsiaoblenergo said that “our company has nothing to do with any illegal activity,” and “cryptocurrency mining equipment has never operated in the premises owned by our company.”

The utility company also added that there was no evidence of the theft of electricity.

The investigation was conducted by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies under the supervision of the Prosecutor General’s Office. 

In a separate but notable cryptocurrency farm plot, back in 2019, Chinese law enforcement uncovered cables hidden in fish ponds that were used to connect to an oil rig’s electrical grid. Active Bitcoin (BTC) rigs were found hidden in a shed after drones were deployed to track down the perpetrator. 

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