Crackdown on Crypto Mining in Irkutsk, Russia: Illegal Miners Targeted

The Irkutsk Prosecution Service announced via Telegram that a 35-year-old crypto miner will face trial for allegedly stealing electricity in Cheremkhovo, a town in the Russian crypto mining hotspot of Irkutsk. This move comes amid a broader crackdown on illegal and quasi-legal crypto mining activities in the region.

Recently, power provider Rosseti shut down 17 illegal crypto mining farms in Krasnoyarsk, Omsk, and Khakassia. Additionally, 36 “illegal” crypto mining farms were closed in the Republic of Dagestan since 2022. Similar crackdowns have occurred in nearby Abkhazia, another unofficial crypto mining hub.

Irkutsk Oblast officials are hopeful that the Russian energy ministry will proceed with plans to increase energy prices for miners, aiming to discourage new miners from flocking to the region and alleviate pressure on the power grids.

Prosecution officials released images of seized equipment from the 35-year-old’s mining operation in Cheremkhovo. The miner is accused of causing approximately $11,000 worth of damage and has been indicted for “causing property damage by deception or abuse of trust.” The investigation revealed that the miner illegally connected jumper wires to the substation’s current transformers, enabling him to consume electricity without proper payment.

The case has taken over a year to process due to the complexity of energy theft-related offenses. In a similar case in Krasnoyarsk, prosecutors accused a group of illegal crypto mining farm operators of stealing $434,800 worth of electricity. Energy providers have claimed to have developed new tools and methods to identify illegal miners more efficiently.

As authorities target energy theft and unauthorized connections to power grids, miners face increasing scrutiny and legal consequences. These developments signal a shift toward greater regulatory oversight and enforcement in the Russian crypto mining sector.