Chi­nese head­mas­ter fired for coin min­ing

The Daily Telegraph - - World news - By James Cook

A CHI­NESE head­mas­ter has been fired af­ter teach­ers found that he was us­ing the school’s com­put­ers to mine for cryp­tocur­rency.

Lei Hua, head of Pu­man Mid­dle School in China’s Hu­nan prov­ince, had in­stalled eight ma­chines in a school class­room over the past year, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal me­dia.

The ruse was dis­cov­ered af­ter he ran up large elec­tric­ity bills and staff no­ticed strange noises and prob­lems with the school’s com­puter net­work.

The head­mas­ter lost his job af­ter the dis­cov­ery and was re­moved from the lo­cal branch of the Com­mu­nist Party. The deputy head­mas­ter, who was also in­volved, re­ceived a for­mal warn­ing. The head teacher re­port­edly started min­ing for a cryp­tocur­rency called Ethereum at his home but moved the de­vice to school premises af­ter dis­cov­er­ing how much elec­tric­ity it re­quired.

Cryp­tocur­rency min­ing uses com­puter hard­ware to per­form cal­cu­la­tions that re­sult in dig­i­tal coins be­ing gen­er­ated. This can be con­verted into nor­mal money or re­tained in dig­i­tal form.

Pow­er­ful coin-min­ing ma­chines can gen­er­ate more cryp­tocur­rency, but be­come hot and noisy when op­er­at­ing and use large amounts of power.

As a re­sult, Pu­man Mid­dle School’s elec­tric­ity bill in­creased dra­mat­i­cally as the cryp­tocur­rency min­ing op­er­a­tion was re­port­edly us­ing 14,700 yuan (£1,600) worth of elec­tric­ity.

The surge in power use caused the school’s en­ergy bill to al­most dou­ble from ear­lier in the year.

The il­licit use of cor­po­rate net­works and com­put­ers to mine cryp­tocur­rency has been a com­mon prob­lem in re­cent years.

In Fe­bru­ary, sev­eral sci­en­tists work­ing at a nu­clear re­search fa­cil­ity in Rus­sia were ar­rested af­ter us­ing the cen­tre’s pow­er­ful su­per­com­puter to mine Bit­coin.

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