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Iceland’s Mining Heist: Missing Miners Could be in China as Lines Are Drawn

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 08:29
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Darryn Pollock
The intriguing case of Iceland’s big mining heist involving Chinese crypto miners
Iceland’s Mining Heist: Missing Miners Could be in China as Lines Are Drawn
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News emerged in March of 600 miners being stolen in Iceland in what was being dubbed “the Big Bitcoin Heist” on the tiny European island. Then, in late April, it was reported that the Chinese government had seized some 600 miners from an area called Tianjin in a crackdown on illicit cryptocurrency mining.

Now, there are some lines of inquiry being drawn as it is reported that Icelandic police have reached out to the Chinese authorities to try and see if their confiscated miners are indeed the stolen ones.

Iceland’s record-breaking heist

The theft of the miners, which happened during four separate incidents in December and January last year led to 11 people, including a security worker, being arrested. The machines, which were worth close to $2 mln, became the biggest heist in the island nation's history.

The case of these Bitcoin miners has twisted and turned, however, as the heist suspect fled Iceland by escaping from prison. Sindri Thor Stefansson allegedly flew to Sweden on a flight which was also carrying Iceland’s prime minister.

He was supposed to be extradited to the Netherlands before making his escape.

Goods in China

With Stefansson on the run, and officials having so far had no luck in locating them despite a $60,000 reward, the investigation continues to try and track down the equipment.

Now, after the Chinese news outlets reported that a case of electricity theft led them to confiscate 600 miners after the farm short-circuited their electricity meter, the Icelandic police have had their suspicions piqued.

It is a tenuous link at best, but the sudden emergence of the exact amount of missing miners, and the fact that the farm was running it illegally does make for compelling reasoning to at least investigate where this equipment came from. 

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About the author

Darryn Pollock is an award winning  journalist from Durban, South Africa. He picked up Vodacom’s Regional Sports Journalist Award in 2017 while expanding his Blockchain and cryptocurrency reach.  He is a contributor to Forbes, Cointelegraph, Binary District, and of course, U.Today. Darryn’s belief is that Blockchain technology will be the driving force of the next technological wave and it is the obligation of journalists and writers to tell its emerging story with integrity and pride.