middle school principal in Hunan province has been fired after running up his school’s electricity bills by secretly setting up a cryptocurrency mining operation in the electronics lab.
Last year, Lei Hua, the head of a middle school in the city of Chenzhou, spent more than 10,000 yuan ($1,400) on cryptocurrency mining equipment, only to discover that he couldn’t afford to pay the utility fees that came with running them, according to a report from China’s Xinhua news agency.
Undeterred, Lei decided to covertly move his operation to his school’s electronics lab, buying and setting up an additional seven machines there, connecting them to the school’s internet and power supply, and keeping them running 24/7 mining Ethereum.
Soon enough, students and teachers began to complain about slow internet in the school, however, he simply shrugged off their concerns. Then, when a staff member directly informed him that the school’s electricity usage had risen dramatically, he put the surge down to a problem with the air-conditioning and heating in the building.
However, he was not able to keep his operation a secret forever, as eventually the loud whirring of the machines led to their discovery. Over a 12-month period, Lei is said to have cost the school an extra 14,714 yuan ($2,100) in electricity.
But, it turns out that he was not the only one, apparently envious of his boss’s success, the school’s deputy principal had also set up a cryptocurrency mining operation of own in the physics lab, costing the school an additional 2,444 yuan ($350).
While the principal was fired, the deputy principal was only disciplined by the party. Both had their ill-gotten gains seized by the state.