The outcome of a court case in Russia may affect the popular practice of cryptocurrency mining in basements and garages. According to a recent ruling, a church in Irkutsk must pay higher electricity rates for installing and running mining hardware on its premises. 'Grace', the religious organization of the local evangelical community, has been taking advantage of lower prices offered to private consumers to mint digital coins. However, the region's utility company says it should pay more because of the excessive energy consumption.
Church Mines Cryptos, Wants Cheaper Electricity
Home crypto mining, still popular in parts of Eastern Europe where private consumers and some organizations enjoy preferential, subsidized electricity rates, may take a hit following a court ruling in Russia, a country with vast energy resources which often remain unutilized. A protestant church in Irkutsk Oblast, a region in the Siberian Federal District, has been accused of mining cryptocurrency and asked to pay its electricity bills at higher rates, those applicable to corporate entities and industrial enterprises, because of what has been deemed an excessive power consumption.
The 'Grace' evangelical community claims it was not using the servers found on its premises for crypto mining. The religious organization has already paid the higher bills for the period between May and August 2017 but has since turned to court to request a refund for the surcharge of 1.1 million rubles ($16,600). The Irkutsk Regional Arbitration Court has recently turned down its claim against the local utility company, Irkutskenergo, and ruled that 'Grace' owed the money after all.
The church has most probably used the discovered hardware to mine cryptocurrency. Irkutskenergo says its electricity consumption suddenly spiked in May, last year and reached 2 million kWh in the months through August, RT reported. The church trustees said they needed the energy for heating and to power printing equipment used to copy religious materials. However, the judges noted that the period in question was in the summer and quoted data reflecting the consumption of much larger temples and printing houses in the region for comparison.