Members of the South African Revenue Service (Sars) and police have confiscated around R10-million worth of bitcoin mining equipment that had been illegally connected to the electricity grid of Vryburg in the North West.
Mining the cryptocurrency is known to be extremely energy intensive. According to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, globally, bitcoin uses as much energy as a small country.
The operation also netted 14 617 bottles of duty-free liquor valued at R3.8-million.
Sars said the counterfeit liquor and modern computer equipment were seized during a raid on an unauthorised warehouse on Thursday.
"The warehouse was well equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to enable those involved to carry out their criminal activities. One foreign national was arrested. An investigation is under way, and more arrests are expected."
Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter welcomed the raid in a statement, saying "the abuse of duty-free labels to circumvent payable duties and other criminal undertakings found at this warehouse undermines our economy and will be confronted and met with the full might of the law."