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Bitcoin-related Lawsuits Rise by 11 Fold in China, With Many Stealing Electricity from Oil

China has seen Bitcoin-related lawsuits rise by 11 fold in four years, with a majority involving in electricity theft for bitcoin mining, according to China Judgements Online, a website publishing court documents of the whole country.

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Bitcoin has been ruled out as currency by the country’s central bank, but its tight connection to money has given rise to quite a number of disputes these years.

As per the search result on China Judgement Online, the number of bitcoin-related cases has been on the rise year by year. 142 bitcoin filings have been made in 2018, rising by 11 fold from 12 filed in 2014. With 2018 still having one month to go, that number is likely to continue rising.

Specifically, bitcoin-related theft and fraud are the main criminal cases, with up to 80 and 30 filings respectively, accounting for 77% of the total number of bitcoin filings.

Among those theft cases, 8btc noticed that less than 30% pertained to actual theft of bitcoins or mining machines, most of the defendants, however, were prosecuted for stealing state power for bitcoin mining without authorization.

These disputes mainly centered in traditional mines – places with abundant oilfield gas or coal resources and mining-favored climates, such as Anhui, Heilongjiang, Henan and Hebei. To mine bitcoins at low cost, criminals mostly use the convenient facility of oil fields and coal mines to steal state electric power.

According to incomplete statistics from a local media report, nearly one-fifth of the world’s bitcoin mining rigs were sold into Daqing, home to Daqing Oil Field (China’s largest oil field). Due to the huge power consumption of bitcoin mining, mine operators opt to eye on oil well electricity in remote places, which could greatly reduce their mining cost, but brings immeasurable economic losses to oilfield enterprises and risk factors to the place.

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From Jan 15 to Apr 25, 37 illegal bitcoin mines stealing electricity from oil had been detected and 23 cases were busted, with 36 suspects arrested and 3,768 mining machines confiscated in the region of Daqing alone.

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