We’ve seen lately esports and gaming become integrated left and right into the crypto landscape – but not quite in that way. Thousands of PlayStation consoles were modified last week to mine crypto.

The details of the operation

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) searched the operation last week for alleged theft of electricity; the SBU is the country’s main security and law enforcement agency. The SBU confiscated a total of around 5,000 devices – around 3,800 of which appear to be PlayStation 4s. The authorities also confiscated over 500 graphics cards, processors, telephones, flash drives and documents from the operation. In the press release on the seizure, the operation was described as the “largest underground crypto farm” that the SGE uncovered and documented.

During the operation, crypto was mined in an old warehouse belonging to a regional electricity provider in Vinnytsia, just over 150 miles outside of the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. The authorities were in contact with JSC Vinnytsiaoblenerho, the electricity company that had previously occupied the building.

The miners are accused of using electricity meters that obscured actual use during activities that, according to the SGE, can also lead to power surges and leave others without electricity. The miners’ monthly electricity theft was estimated at $ 186,000 to $ 260,000 by the SGE.

A photo taken from the Ukrainian authorities shows thousands of PlayStation 4s set up in an unorthodox mining operation.  | Source: Secret Service Of Ukraine: Press Release

Related reading | Authorities arrest perpetrators for illegal cryptocurrency transactions

Is the juice worth the juice?

Your traditional crypto mining operation certainly doesn’t look like it – but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t still have been a financially beneficial endeavor for the people running that operation. Assuming these miners don’t seem to have any electricity bills, operations could likely have been set up to mine GPU-friendly cryptos that use less processing power. Photos published by SBU, such as the one shown above, show PlayStations wall-to-wall racks.

Bitcoin and crypto in general have been a point of contention across Ukraine. Earlier this year, it was reported that the country’s Department of Energy is considering a bitcoin mining center to harness the country’s excess nuclear power. In addition, the National Bank of Ukraine has urged government officials to speed up crypto legislation to address its legality. However, discussions on both topics in recent weeks seem to have stalled.

In addition, illegal crypto mining operations are rampant in Ukraine, as shown by interviews on that particular story in the Kiev Post. However, crypto mining and trading is not illegal in the country – but Ukrainians cannot currently register as crypto entrepreneurs or declare crypto exchanges.

Ethereum is generally seen as one of the more processor-friendly coins to mine, relative to bitcoin.  | Source: ETH-USD on TradingView.com

Related reading | Poland’s regulators are issuing warnings about the Binance cryptocurrency exchange

Featured image from Pixabay, Charts from TradingView.com

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