A school in China has been exposed as the location for a secret Ethereum mining operation in yet another case of cheap energy in public buildings being redirected to mine cryptocurrencies.
Ever considered that your university or school might actually be one of the best places to mine crypto? Obviously, I am in no way advocating doing this! But it’s undeniable that the circumstances are pretty ideal: power points everywhere, lots of places to hide your rig, and (at least for you personally) free energy? Well, a group of teachers at Puman Middle School in Chenzhou, Hunan province, thought the same and have been running an Ether mining rig on the down-low at the school for several months. However, they have recently been exposed after complaints of loud noises from the school’s computers were looked into further.
High Costs of Ethereum Mining at Home
According to news outlet HK01, the school’s network was getting so slow that it prompted teachers who were not in on the operation to investigate the source of the network being so bogged down. HK01 reports that initially the principle told teachers who complained to him that the noise and slowness of the network was due to “too much use of school air conditioners and grills” (Yes, you read that right).
However, the constant howl coming from the school at all hours prompted teachers to continue investigating and in the end seven Ethereum mining rigs were discovered on site.
Principal Lei Hua and Vice Principal Wang Zhipeng were both in on the operation and explained that Lei had at first been mining out of his home, but quickly came to learn that his energy costs were much too high. He therefore decided to move the operation to the school dormitory, and then to the school itself, after buying more rigs and requiring more space.
The school’s energy costs duly shot up and added around $2,000 extra to the school’s annual electricity bill. The Principal was dismissed over the business whilst the Vice Principal received a warning for his conduct. It is not known how much ETH, the operation produced over the duration of its commission.
Mining from Public Buildings: Easy Money?
This story is just one of a series. Globally, numerous tales have emerged about people using schools and workplaces as locations from which to secretly mine cryptos.
Australian employees at the country’s Bureau of Meteorology apparently used the organisation’s powerful computers to mine bitcoin before being caught in March. Even a worker at the US Federal Reserve was caught mining bitcoin using government servers between 2012 and 2014. He was subsequently fined $5,000 and given 12 months’ probation.
Moral of the story? Whilst it might seem like a good idea to mine cryptos out of a place you do not own, there is a good chance it could end in tears and even legal troubles. As crypto goes more and more mainstream, more and more people will be aware of what mining rigs look like and sound like; it’s no longer niche – don’t risk it!
Image Source: “Flickr”
Alex has been putting words on paper since he was old enough to hold a pen; when he bought his first bitcoin in January 2017, those words discovered their place within crypto as well. He holds a master’s degree in international relations from Leiden University in the Netherlands, and his special expertise lies in European cryptocurrency regulation.