A recent underground mining farm bust in Ukraine was not being used for crypto, as was initially reported. Instead, it was extracting FIFA Ultimate Team cards.
Ukrainian officials have put an end to a PlayStation 4 (PS4) mining farm thinking it was mining crypto — but it was actually mining Ultimate Team Cards in FIFA to be sold on the black market. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) published a notice saying that it had shut down the farm that contained 3,800 PS4 units. The farm was created by the residents of Kyiv and Vinnytsia.
Ukrainian business media outlet Delo conducted an investigation on the matter after being skeptical of the possible use of the farm for crypto mining. Photos of the farm released by the SSU clearly show racks of PS4s, as well as the FIFA game disc as well. The SBU has not commented since the bust to maintain the secrecy of the investigation.
Cryptocurrency mining requires a specific set of hardware in order to optimally mine assets. PS4s are hardly the right equipment, and it’s clear why Delo was skeptical of the farm being used for mining. There were also 500 GPUs, dozens of processors, and documents on electricity consumption, which may indicate the possibility of mining, but there are no details of this so far.
The SBU, in a post published in early July, said that it had exposed the largest crypto farm, but perhaps that was a premature declaration.
Authorities turning sights to the mining industry
Alongside the regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges, governments are also targeting mining farms and the mining industry in general. Many countries have issued directives or outright raided mining farms to curb the space.
Most notably, China has shut down numerous mining farms. Just a few days ago it shut down a small mining farm in an eastern province. MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor called China’s extensive ban a “trillion-dollar mistake,” but one that China can afford to make. The crackdown has even pushed global blockchain company IBC Group out of the country, which will shut down its BTC and ETH mining operations in China.
Other countries are either taxing the mining industry or imposing strict regulations. Kazakhstan will tax cryptocurrency mining from 2022. The country is a popular mining location because of its cheap electricity rates. Iranian officials, meanwhile, have seized mining rigs after the government outlawed bitcoin mining.