For the past six months, the Tenaga Nasional Bhd has been incurring losses amounting to 3.2M Malaysian ringgit (about $760,736). This is due to illegal Bitcoin mining. However, a raid on 33 premises close to the state capital of Pahang, Kuantan has put an end to the losses.
Per the press release, Tenaga Nasional Bhd had a team of 30 personnel and five TNB Security Service Department officials. Armed with a warrant from the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate’s Court, the team kicked off their search. From the search, the team dismanted Bitcoin mining machines in 23 premises and collected evidence. However, on ten premises, they were not that successful since the miners had already dismantled their machines and moved into hiding.
Miners Tapped Power Directly From the Distribution Board
To run their machines, the miners got power directly from the distribution board by bypassing the TNB meters in place. However, they also maintained a single connection through a meter to fool TNB. In one premise in Kampung Jaya Gading, the miners had a meter in place for a lamp, which used only 3 AMP. However, their direct connection consumed 1,500 AMP per month. While the latter amounted to RM108, 000, they only paid RM219 for the lamp.
Although the Malaysian government has not come out clearly in support of the sector, crypto exchanges within its borders are on shaky grounds. The government feels the crypto and blockchain sector can be of considerable benefits to its people. However, classifying virtual currencies as securities isn’t productive for crypto exchanges. According to Lim Guan Eng, Malaysia’s Minister of Finance;-
“Regarding cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, we believe innovations in the space can help bring out new business models in both new and old industries. Besides that, we believe digital assets provide new businesses and entrepreneurs alike an alternative avenue to raise funds for their firms. Similarly, the sector is also providing investors an alternative asset class. In the end, the latter translates to growth in the economy.”
Apart from the above, the central bank came out stating that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in Malaysia, but Malaysians are free to mine and trade in Bitcoin. In their view, they feel users in the sector are not protected from scams and risks.