Students have been warned that mining digital currency in a dorm room can be considered a crime under the law as more Russians set up crypto farms in areas with electricity subsidies, such as their homes.

Vladimir Shelupakhin, a lawyer at Gorgadze and Partners, told the RIA Novosti news agency that universities will ask them to pay for excess energy consumption. He said that amateur miners could be charged with crimes in some cases.

According to the report, mining can cause serious material damages. The lawyer explained that if a university has to pay more for electricity, it could seek damages from students who were caught creating cryptocurrency. Shelupakhin said that miners who refuse to pay for these expenses could be subject to criminal prosecution.

“If it’s not possible to identify the miners then it’s necessary to report the matter to the police. The legal expert stated that in such cases, violators would be subject to criminal liability under article 160 of the Criminal Code (Causing damage to property by deceit and breach of trust).

Russian crypto mining is not only profitable for large companies, but also provides an additional income stream for ordinary Russians. The country’s household electricity is subsidised and much less expensive than that sold to businesses, particularly in energy-rich areas.

The increase in consumption by Irkutsk’s population, where electricity rates are just $0.01 perkWh in rural areas, has been four times greater in 2021. Authorities believe that the spike is due mining hardware being stored in basements or garages. Miners were blamed on outages and breakdowns.

Members of the parliamentary Energy Committee recently suggested that the federal government implement a series of measures to curb home mining. This is a result of similar proposals from Russian energy suppliers to the State Duma (the lower house of parliament).

They want utilities to be able to cut off illegal miners from the grid, and that consumers declare their intended use of electrical energy. They insist that internet providers be required to disclose the IP addresses and other information about suspected miners to authorities.