Bitcoin miner is electrocuted while trying to power up computer

First death from Bitcoin mining: Cryptocurrency hunter is electrocuted while trying to power up faulty computer in Thailand

  • Danai Makmek, 26, died on Tuesday in Thailand’s central Chonburi province 
  • His brother said he had panicked when his computer system stopped working
  • Worried about income loss, Danai decided to attempt to fix the machine himself
  • The sprawling computer rig included at least 19 rigged up hard drives
  • It is believed to have exploded, electrocuting Danai while he was working on it 

A Bitcoin miner has died in Thailand in what is believed to be the cryptocurrency’s first fatality.

Danai Makmek, 26, was electrocuted while trying to power up his computer system to collect more cryptocurrency on Tuesday in Thailand’s central Chonburi province.

Like many cryptocurrency miners, he had rigged up several hard drives to create a sprawling crypto mining machine, which he used electric fans to cool.

Danai panicked when his system cut out and he could not get it to turn back on. 

He begged his brother, Apiwat Makmek, for help with the broken rig, worried he would lose valuable mining time.

Apiwat said he promised to go with Danai to a technician the following day to fix the system, which was capable of earning thousands of dollars worth of Bitcoin each week.  

Worried about the loss of income, Danai took matters into his own hands and decided to try and fix the machine himself, his brother said.

‘I warned him but he could not wait. I think he panicked and stayed up for the whole night trying to fix it,’ Apiwat told reporters on Wednesday.

Danai is believed to have been killed after the Bitcoin mining computer exploded and electrocuted him. 

Danai Makmek, a 26-year-old Bitcoin miner, has died in Thailand in what is believed to be the cryptocurrency’s first fatality after being electrocuted while trying to fix his computer system

Like many cryptocurrency miners, Danai had rigged up several hard drives to create a sprawling crypto mining machine and was cooling it with electric fans

A photo shows the tangled mess of cables and drives that made up the rig, including at least 19 hard drives. 

Apiwat said that he had been concerned about the safety of the computer system, which Danai had put together himself.

‘The computer was modified to give it more power. I do not think it was safe but my brother had built it himself for Bitcoin mining, which he really liked.’

Apiwat said he found his brother dead on Wednesday morning after he arrived with a technician to fix the computer system. Danai was lying slumped over the Bitcoin set up, he said.

Emergency services were called and paramedics tried without success to revive Danai. The police were also called to the scene to investigate. 

Police Colonel Santi Shoosheud said there were no signs of forced entry into the room and that Danai had no suspicious injuries, leading them to believe he had been electrocuted. 

‘We believe he attempted to fix the broken machine on his own and was electrocuted. 

‘We are still investigating the case but there was no forced entry nor suspicious injuries found so far.’

While Danai’s death is believed to be the first related to cryptocurrencies, the large amounts of electricity required to mine has resulted in accidents in the past.

In February 2018, a fire destroyed a block of flats near the city of Vladivostok in Russia after a resident plugged his computers into the building’s main electricity supply to mine Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a digital currency invented in 2009 that surged in popularity in 2017. Miners earn coins by verifying digital transactions to ensure they are legal. 

The unregulated process is voluntary and is carried out by hundreds of thousands of cryptocurrency miners around the world, the majority of whom are in Asia. 

For some, like Danai, Bitcoin mining is a serious source of income but a number of countries are beginning to investigate the process over concerns that the amount of power used to mine Bitcoins could be harmful to the environment.

A study from Cambridge University found that Bitcoin uses more electricity annually than the whole of Argentina. 

China is moving to regulate the industry, a decision which has severely impacted Bitcoin’s value which has dropped by half since a peak earlier this year.

The European Union is also taking steps towards regulation, announcing proposals on Tuesday aimed at targeting cryptocurrency money-laundering. 

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