Cryptocurrency thieves stole 600 mining computers worth nearly $2 million

Police in Iceland have arrested 11 people suspected of stealing 600 computers used to mine Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the Associated Press reports. The heists took place on four different occasions, including three in December and the fourth in January.

The hardware, which has not yet been recovered, is worth an estimated $2 million. It's not clear what specific hardware was stolen—Bitcoin is typically mined with ASIC hardware these days, while other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum are best mined with graphics cards.

Police kept the thefts quiet until now in hopes of tracking the down culprits. The local police commissioner says he has never seen a theft of this scale before, and that the evidence suggests "this being a highly organized crime."

While the hardware is obviously worth a large sum at nearly $2 million, the culprits were probably more motivated by the profit they could turn by mining various cryptocurrencies. It's no coincidence that this happened in Iceland, either. Iceland is home to cheap energy due to its geothermal and hydroelectric power plants, which makes mining cryptocurrency there potentially more profitable than in many other areas.

Police are hoping that unusual spikes in energy consumption will help lead them to the whereabouts of the stolen hardware.