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Why Would Police Confuse Bitcoin Miners with Marijuana Growers?

Bitcoins are a P2P-based digital currency produced by siccing computers’ horsepower on solving difficult, time-intensive math problems. As we mentioned in our article on browser-based Bitcoin generation, the cost of the electricity it takes to produce Bitcoins on average exceeds the monetary value of Bitcoins produced, but that hasn’t stopped some folks from trying their luck at Bitcoin mining anyway, sometimes working alone, sometimes in pools.

As it turns out, all that electricity use has its downside: Namely, it can make serious Bitcoin miners look like marijuana growers to police. (Marijuana farmers use up a ton of electricity on lights to grow the plants indoors.) Now, there are (possibly apocryphal) stories among the Bitcoin community that some miners have had their homes raided or even been arrested when local police confused one kind of electricity-intensive activity for the other. And high electricity bills can be used as probable cause for issuing a search warrant. According to one IRC chat on the subject:

Given the libertarian leanings among many of the people to whom an untraceable, P2P currency would have appeal, don’t expect it to go over well if Bitcoin-prompted police raids become a thing in the future.

(Bitcoin Miner via ComputerWorld)

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