Shop owners in the GTC shopping mall in Skopje say that their electricity bills have dropped significantly after the aborted police raid in mid November. Led by the press, officers raided a basement office in GTC and found Bitcoin mining rigs apparently hooked to the common electricity supply.

The offices were used by the Bajram family, whose party, the Roma Alliance, has long managed the public company running GTC. The raid was stopped – a top police official close to then Prime Minister Zaev is also influential in the GTC board – but apparently the Bitcoin mining stopped.

Now shop owners say that their bills are down by as much as 40 percent. The mall uses a common electric supply and the bill is then divided between the shop owners – which is an ideal situation to hide Bitcoin mining. After the incident, other instances of Bitcoin mining in public institutions, such as the Macedonian Railways, were found. There are also allegations that Bitcoin rigs are set up in several Albanian mafia controlled villages near Skopje, where the electric bills are routinely left unpaid. Electricity is a huge part of the cost of crypto coin mining.