Malaysia has taken the nation's cryptocurrency crackdown literally. Authorities confiscated 1,069 Bitcoin mining rigs, gathered them in a parking lot outside a police headquarters and then crushed them with a steamroller.
The destruction of the rigs was part of a joint operation between domestic electric utility company Sarawak Energy and law enforcement agencies. The mining rigs were being used by a group that allegedly stole more than $2 million worth of electricity from Sarawak Energy.
Video of the event was captured by local Sarawak news outlet Dayak Daily. The video has since gone viral on social media.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Hakemal Hawari said the group was running the rigs using electricity illegally siphoned from the energy company's power lines. He said authorities were able to track down the group after they received an anonymous tip.
The mining rigs were confiscated from six spate raids conducted over the past few months. Authorities said the equipment that was seized had an estimated value of about $1.26 million. Mining rigs are typically composed of powerful graphic processing units, power supplies and standard personal computer components.
Hawari said the courts had issued an order for the destruction of the mining rigs. Other countries that confiscated mining rigs in the past - including China - had opted to auction off the seized equipment.
Mining rigs, which process cryptocurrency transactions and creates new digital coins, consume a lot of electricity. The process involves solving complex math problems and updating global ledgers that track down every transaction for a particular cryptocurrency.
Authorities said the amount of power the rigs consume can jeopardize local power grids. Hawari said the illegal tapping of power lines by the group of miners had caused at least three fires.
Cryptocurrency mining is not illegal in Malaysia. However, the government does have very strict power usage laws. Under the nation's Electricity Supply Act, those caught illegally tampering with power lines could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $23,700.
Hawari said they had arrested eight people involved in the mining operation. Six people have been charged with stealing energy supplies and are now facing eight months of jail time and a fine of $1,900 each.