The Korean Customs Service has added cryptocurrency mining hardware to its list of items required to meet safety requirements in order to be imported into the country. The announcement comes following a $1.2 million USD seizure of mining hardware in recent months, prompting concerns over the potential for poorly manufactured hardware to increase fire risks across the country.
South Korea Announces New Regulatory Apparatus Regarding Safety Requirements on Imported Goods
South Korea’s customs department has revised its customs clearance system, placing greater regulatory conditions on the importation of cryptocurrency mining hardware, in addition to other goods. Korea’s customs service recently announced the introduction a newly created 292 point clearance system for goods, resulting in the number of goods subjected to the clearance system to grow to 7,382.
Cryptocurrency mining hardware has been targeted under the new system, owing to a perception that poorly manufactured hardware may pose an increased risk of fire due to the large amounts of heat discharged during the mining process.
Korean authorities have pointed to 454 cryptocurrency mining rigs that were detected by the Korean Customs Service during late last year, which had an estimated value of 1.3 billion KRW (approximately $1.2 million USD) – describing as being illustrative of the scale of demand for mining hardware, in additional to the risk potential posed by mass distribution of unregulated machinery that emits significant heat.
Mining Mania Hits South Korea
South Korea was among the nations to be hardest hit by the frenzy surrounding virtual currencies in recent months. Desperate to cash in on the crypto boom by whatever means possible, some brazen miners have sought to access cheap electricity illegally to dig for crypto.
At the start of April, fourteen Koreans from thirteen different companies were caught illegally stealing using power from various industrial complexes in South Korea. Local reports have alleged that since May 2017, between 100 and 350 mining rigs have been operated at each of the accused companies for the purposes of cryptocurrency. By misrepresenting their mining activities as day-to-day business operations, the miners were able to access subsidized electricity at a 10% discounted price when compared to general use prices. The companies are expected to receive fines from Korean police.
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Images courtesy of Shutterstock, customs.go.kr
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Author: Samuel Haig