A retailer of bitcoin mining machines in Malta has been ordered to refund a client who found that a miner purchased from the company found the unit to consume more electricity than they had expected.

The Consumer Claims Tribunal in Malta ordered that the unnamed purchaser of the mining machine be refunded 2,000 euros (approximately $2.260) for it, which was purchased new for 2,600 euros (roughly $2,940).

Consumer Claims Tribunal Backs Refund Request

The plaintiff asserted that the BTC generated by the miner did not offset the electricity expenditure required to operate the machine. The customer also complained that the miner produced excessive noise.

The Tribunal made its ruling after Dario Azzopardi, the chief executive officer of the local IT company that sold the miner to the plaintiff, 3 Group, did not contest the claim. Despite being requested to attend the hearing by the Tribunal, Mr. Azzopardi did not attend the hearing. In a statement, the Tribunal said:

The Tribunal noted that even though Mr. Dario Azzopardi has been served with the Notice of Claim, the date and the time of the hearing, he did not attend the tribunal sitting. Furthermore, Mr. Azzopardi did not submit a written response to this claim. To the Tribunal this meant that the trader was not contesting the claim. Mr. Azzopardi was ordered by the Tribunal to pay the consumer the amount of €2,000. The Tribunal also ruled that the ownership of the engine reverts to the trader after the payment is made.

Malta Grows as ‘Blockchain Island’

Owing to its permissive regulatory apparatus, Malta has increasingly become a hub for cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology companies.

Last month, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak announced that he will co-found Malta-based EFFORCE, a blockchain-based platform that seeks to establish itself as “the first and main platform in the world for tokenized energy savings.” Speaking at the company’s pre-launch at the prominent Maltese blockchain conference, Delta Summit, Mr. Wozniak described EFFORCE as having a “unique business model” that can have a significant impact on entrepreneurship.

Mr. Wozniak also praised the Maltese government for adopting a permissive legislative framework for distributed ledger technology, citing the country’s willingness to invest in blockchain technology as a significant factor in the company’s decision to base itself in Malta.