High School Principal in China Fired for Running Secret Cryptocurrency Mining Operation

By Jennings Brown on at

Eight cryptocurrency machines reportedly drained electricity from a Chinese high school for nearly a year before the principal was busted, and later fired, for running an Ethereum-mining operation.

A school employee had attempted to alert headmaster Lei Hua about the excessive use of electricity, but Hau reportedly blamed it on the heaters and air conditioners, according to South China Morning Post.

The Post reports that a Huan-based state-owned radio station reported the mining operation garnered an electricity bill of 14,700 yuan, or £1,628.

Lei reportedly began mining cryptocurrency in June 2017. At first, he was using one machine at home. But bitcoin mining is a major energy drain, and Lei was reportedly burning up about 21 kilowatts per hour. So he moved his setup to the computer room at his place of employment—and eventually added seven more mining machines.

In January, the school’s deputy headmaster bought his own mining computer with guidance from Lei, and also started mining through the school’s electricity source.

Lei was fired last month after authorities uncovered the electricity theft. His deputy headmaster was reportedly given a warning, according to the BBC.

Earlier this year, China ramped up its effort to crack down on cryptocurrency mining. In April, Chinese police busted one operation, seizing 600 bitcoin mining computers in the process. Law enforcement was alerted by the local electricity company after it noticed a spike in electricity consumption. [South China Morning Post/BBC]