As covered by Sveriges Radio, two Swedish mining operations have packed up and left Sweden without a leaving a trace behind.

What Happened?

Norrbotten county, in the north half of Sweden, was an area looking to grow their cryptocurrency mining output. Two companies, NGDC and Chasqui Tech, started building infrastructure to begin mining, but have recently disappeared.

Based in Miami, NGDC started working in Sweden earlier this year. They paid for the location they were using, and it seemed they were working on building out the facilities, but after a few months, the electricity company got suspicious. NGDC’s supplier found that the company was not paying their electricity bills, and after NGDC racked up an account balance of $1.5 million, it was clear that they weren’t planning to pay.

No further details are known about NGDC, including whether  they profitably mined cryptocurrency, or where they went. The electric company submitted complaints and has filed for NGDC’s corporate registration to be closed and declared bankrupt.

The second company, Chasqui Tech, did not accumulate as much debt, but its activities were also unusual. Chasqui made plans to start mining, and even signed the lease on an area to commence operations – however never moved into the facilities. Chasqui now owes $50,000 in rent, and no one’s been at the location to pay for it.

Mining Woes

The two incidents might seem very conspicuous but it’s possible they’re symptoms of a dwindling mining industry. Over the past year, Bitcoin’s hash rate has been consistently decreasing. Even though the price of bitcoin has been in a strong downtrend since January, Bitcoin miners are getting more aggressive than ever. As shown below, the total hashrate of the Bitcoin network has not stopped all year:

Bitcoin Hash Rate From: BitInfoChartsBitcoin Hash Rate From: BitInfoCharts

The two firms’ closure could be a symptom of the decreasing profitability. As bitcoin’s price remains around $6,000, miners who cannot afford to mine at that price are turning off their processors. This competition among miners is creating a situation where only those with affordable electricity can mine, as shown by the recent launch of a giant mining farm in Canada.