Thousands of Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4) Pro consoles and other gaming-related hardware were seized by Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) after raiding an illegal cryptocurrency mining farm in the city of Vinnytsia. According to the security agency’s report published on their website, over 5,000 devices have been confiscated – 3,800 of which were consoles, with a majority being Sony’s aforementioned 4K-capable gaming machines.
The SBU says the illegal crypto mining warehouse is believed to be operated by people living in the cities of Kyiv and Vinnytsia, who also utilised special electricity meters to steal as much as $256,648 worth of energy from the city’s power grid. Interestingly enough, the report noted the warehouse is located next to (and formerly owned by) the Vinnytsiaolenergo energy distribution company, which denied any involvement via a statement sent to the Kyiv Post.
As you’d have guessed, all of the PS4 Pro consoles and other involved gaming devices have been altered to mine cryptocurrency. Much like standalone GPUs, miners rely on the video game console’s graphics processing capability for blockchain processing. In fact, almost every smart device in the market – even those without a GPU – are actually capable of mining cryptocurrency, albeit at slower and inconsistent frequencies. However, seeing that these devices are not intended for this, modifications are necessary in order to bypass any onboard restrictions and such.
The SBU has yet to find those responsible for the illegal mining operation but one thing is for sure, it is likely that the farm is operated by individuals who have plenty of cash to throw. As noted by Kotaku, a total of 3,800 consoles equals an investment of around US$1.5 million – that is, assuming all of them are PlayStation 4 Pros. Not discounting the possibility that most, if not all of these devices may be stolen equipment as well.
Perhaps the more frightening details that could keep most people – especially gamers – up at night are: how many farming operations such as these are there in the world? And seeing that thousands of PS4 consoles are already utilised for crypto mining, what are the chances that miners will move on to the next best thing? Or have they already?
Oh, and the PlayStation 5 is still short on supply due to the ongoing global semiconductor shortage, by the way. Just saying.