A husband and wife team in Chenzhou, Hunan Province, China started mining the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, Ethereum, in their home. According to a report by local news outlet HK01, the mining venture began consuming 21 kWh of electricity per day, so the husband, Lei Hua, principal of Puman Middle School, moved the operation to the school, concealing them in computer classrooms.
Around-the-clock noises prompted teachers to investigate, after initially being told that air conditioners were creating the disturbance.
Reads the report,
“Since many residential teachers couldn’t bear the noise nuisance and felt that the school network was extremely slow, they went out together to find out the reasons and finally found that there were 7 high-power computers running in the computer classroom. It turned out that these seven computers were the ‘deposits’ of the school principal Lei Hua. Lei Hua put them in the school, using the school network and using the school power for free to carry out the ‘crypto mining’ of Ethereum for personal gain.”
Vice principal Wang Zhipeng, on a tip from Hua, also invested in a mining rig, connecting it to the school’s network and installed it in the school’s laboratory.
According to the report, Lei Hua was expelled from the Communist Party of China last month and was also punished by the party for his actions. Wang Zhipeng was issued a warning, and the money that was siphoned through illegal use of the school’s electricity was collected by the local Commission for Discipline Inspection.
China, which cracked down on cryptocurrencies in September 2017, and recently shut down social media accounts covering crypto-related topics and events, has not been able to stop support for crypto adoption. A local arbitrator presiding over a case involving digital assets that were frozen in a crypto portfolio ruled in favor of the plaintiff, stating that “Bitcoin has the nature of a property, which can be owned and controlled by parties, and is able to provide economic values and benefits.”