A small illegal bitcoin mine was taken down in an empty building that belongs to the state railway monopoly Ukrzaliznytsia, its CEO wrote on Facebook on November 15.
The mine was set up in the western Ukrainian city of Ternopil, according to Yevhen Kravtsov, Ukrzaliznytsia CEO.
The farm ran more than 100 units of equipment, which were hooked up to the power grid of Ukrzaliznytsia in a way that bypassed the electricity meter in the building, making the energy-intensive process of mining virtually free.
“They saved themselves more than 1 million hryvnias ($40,000),” Kravtsov said.
A criminal investigation has been opened.
Bitcoin currently sells for $ 8,587. The use of cryptocurrencies is outlawed in Ukraine, but mining is under-regulated and remains more attractive than in most European countries because of lower electricity costs. Power and hardware are the two main costs cryptominers face.
The annual revenue generated by the Ukrainian crypto mining industry amounts to over $100 million, according to bitcoin.com.
In the week preceding the cryptomine bust, the volume of bitcoins traded in Ukraine was over $340,000, according to Coin Dance, a specialized website.