A church in Russia has been found guilty of mining cryptocurrencies secretly and spiking environmental consumption rates.

The church has subsequently incurred exorbitant expenses, according to recent reports, following the court’s ruling charging them with extra electricity fees and tariff. The court verdict may be set to have its implications on the mining industry in Russia in general.

High Power Consumption

The church, ‘Grace Ministries’ was observed to have an unusual rate of power consumption, with the religious organization maintaining a significant spike in electricity in 2017. The strange development led to the inspection of the church, in search of cryptocurrency-mining possibilities. While the church maintained innocence and denied knowledge of any form of cryptocurrency mining, Inspectors nevertheless, discovered an organized system of computers and verifiable hardware computing on the second floor of Grace building.

While the concept of a church mining cryptocurrencies might be strange, it is less surprising if it is Eastern European or Chinese, given these regions enjoy extremely low rates of electricity of electricity charges. Issues and arrests have become common over the years in these regions as individuals resort to illegal ways of using ‘huge chunks’ of electricity without paying for them. The number of people who mine directly from their homes is increasingly growing in China and Russia respectively.

The court reached a consensus, siding with the Regional Electricity Provider, Irkutskenegro, and backed up its claims concerning the alleged cryptocurrency-mining church after an investigation was conducted. After claiming its expenses and spiked rates were due to heating purposes and production of religion-related materials, the church demanded a refund of more than 1.1 million rubles, about US$16,000. Pieces of evidence provided by the church to support its claims of ‘heating expenses’ was promptly discarded by the ruling court, citing incoherence in date, and the improbability of incurring excessive heating expenses in the summer.

The cryptocurrency industry is yet to be explicitly regulated in Russia however, and it remains to be seen how the latest ruling affects the mining industry in Russia in the long run.