- The duo stole the school’s power to mine Ethereum
- The mining activity slowed down IT processes and spiked electricity bills
- Stealing electricity to do cryptocurrency mining is becoming rampant in China
A middle high school principal and his deputy are in trouble for deploying eight Ethereum mining machines in their school. The duo was caught illegally using the school’s power supply and internet for their mining efforts that lasted several months.
Mining While Teaching
The two principals of Puman Middle School in Hunan province stole their employer’s electricity to mine Ethereum, according to a local news outlet and racked up a bill of 14,700 yuan (US$2,120). They have sacked the principal while his deputy has been given a warning while the county government’s discipline watchdog has seized an unspecified amount of both teachers’ cryptocurrency earnings.
The management and employees of the school discovered something was amiss when the school’s IT networked slowed down without a good reason making it almost impossible for them to do any work and the schools electricity consumption started skyrocketing in July.
While the manager did not smell a rat, at first thought the huge electricity bills were caused by their air conditioning equipment but the other school employees were perturbed by the noise levels from the computers that ran “day and night, including during the school holidays” over the last few months.
When the IT department could no longer stand the noise from the computers and the sluggish network, they looked for answers and stumbled upon the eight high-end cryptocurrency mining rigs running at full throttle in one of the school’s classrooms that should have been vacant.
The local news outlet reports that investigations showed the principal, Lei Hua, was originally mining Ethereum from his home but later moved the venture to school after realizing how expensive the cost of electricity related to Ethereum mining was. Following on his boss’ footsteps, Vice Principal Wang Zhipeng also bought mining machines and placed them in the physics lab and generated a 2,444 yuan power bill for the school.
Rampant Unauthorised Mining in China
China is home to the world’s leading manufacturers of cryptocurrency mining hardware such as Bitmain but the country has tried hard to curb mining operations in the midst of the crackdown on cryptocurrency trading. Cryptocurrency mining requires high-end computing power that is undertaken using highly specialized computing chips that consume huge amounts of power.
Chinese authorities arrested some six people last April for illegally tapping electricity from the electricity grid to power 600 Bitcoin mining machines while another man was arrested for stealing electricity from a train power line to mine Bitcoin.