The Security Service of Ukraine(SSU) has uncovered an illegal crypto mining operation that employed 3,800 PlayStation 4 consoles(PS4) to mine digital assets. Initial reports suggest that apart from the gaming consoles, the SSU confiscated 50 processors and 500 graphics cards from the facility, which is being called “the largest crypto farm in Ukraine.”
Ukrainian Group Involved in Illegal Crypto Mining Ops Busted by SSU
According to an official statement issued on July 8, the SSU discovered the secret crypto mining facility while investigating power outages in some districts of Vinnytsia. The law enforcement body estimates that the group behind the operation stole electricity worth $255,000 from a neighboring power supply plant. These individuals might have to pay a hefty penalty or face up to three years behind the bars.
Established by the residents of Vinnytsia and Kyiv, the facility in question was housed inside the warehouse of Ukrainian power supplier JSC Vinnytsiaoblenerho. This is the same company that was tapped by the group for its electricity needs. To conceal their activities, the group used conventional means of accounting for its power consumption.
Crypto Farmers Also Harvested Valuable Gaming Cards
Interestingly, the group’s operations weren’t restricted to crypto mining. Many of the PS4 consoles in the facility were running FIFA 2021, a popular soccer sim designed by gaming giant Electronic Arts(EA).
The crypto farmers weren’t simply having a good time with a game of soccer but instead, they were harvesting valuable player cards that are worth thousands of dollars on the grey market.
FIFA allows its players to earn points by playing matches, transferring players, and earning in-game achievements. The farmers were hoping to use these points to acquire rare cards that can fetch a good amount of money on unofficial platforms.
The latest raid comes at the heels of a similar shutdown led by the SSU earlier this month. According to Ukrainian news publication Forklog, the law enforcement agency had previously busted a facility in the Chernihiv region that contained 150 application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs).
Meanwhile, Ukraine is working on its first set of crypto regulations. The country’s central bank is also looking into a hryvnia-backed central bank digital currency(CBDC), which was recently listed in a law regulating payment methods.