Some 600 computers used to “mine” bitcoin and other virtual currencies were stolen from data centres in Iceland in what police say is the biggest series of thefts ever in the North Atlantic nation.
Some 11 people were arrested, including a security guard, as part of what Icelandic media have dubbed the “Big Bitcoin Heist.” A judge at the Reykjanes District Court on Friday ordered two people to remain in custody.
The powerful computers, which have not yet been found, are worth almost $2-million. But if the stolen equipment is used for its original purpose – to create new bitcoins – the thieves could turn a massive profit in an untraceable currency without ever selling the items.
“This is a grand theft on a scale unseen before,” said Olafur Helgi Kjartansson, the police commissioner on the southwestern Reykjanes peninsula, where two of the burglaries took place. “Everything points to this being a highly organized crime.”