The principal and vice principal of a middle school in Chenzhou, Hunan Province, China have been busted after turning their middle school into a cryptocurrency mining farm. Lei Hua and his deputy Wang Zhipeng have been fired, thrown out of the Communist Party, and their mining revenue confiscated. The mining operation reportedly used large amounts of the school’s electricity and internet bandwidth.

Apparently, a loud noise had been emanating throughout the school at all hours, including holidays, due to the mining rigs. Additionally, the internet had slowed to a crawl at the school, a serious detriment for computer students and teachers. The teachers asked the principal why this was happening and Lei responded that the air conditioner and grills were being used too much. That was a good excuse for the power bill, which increased by nearly 100% and cost the school a total of USD 2,163, which has been paid back at this point. Eventually, the teachers worked together to investigate since the loud noise and slow internet was too much of a nuisance to ignore and discovered the mining rigs.

Indeed, the reason Lei moved the mining rigs into the school in the first place was that they consumed too much electricity at home. They originally moved a mining rig into a school dormitory but after they expanded to nine rigs, there was not enough room in the dormitory so they moved the mining farm to a computer classroom.

Ethereum has experienced a drastic price decrease during 2018 from nearly USD 1,400 in January 2018 to about USD 200 as of November 2018. This has caused Ethereum mining to become unprofitable for individual miners. Some have sought a source of free electricity like Lei and Wang were doing.

This is not the only incident of employees stealing electricity for cryptocurrency mining. An employee at the Florida Department of Citrus was arrested for mining cryptocurrency on state computers, a group of staffers for the Louisiana Attorney General are being investigated, and an employee of the Federal Reserve of the United States was fined USD 5,000 for mining Bitcoin on government computers.

 

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