What happened: Both the principal and vice principal of a Hunan high school were fired from their posts last month for mining crypto using school resources. Local authorities said last Saturday that the two had charged an extra RMB 17,158 to their school’s electricity bill. After starting to mine ether at his home last June, the principal moved the operation to his school in order to save costs. He also added more miners and recruited the vice principal to help. For the year or so that their off-the-books operation lasted, teachers and students alike noted poor internet connections and odd noises, even at night. The duo’s cryptocurrency earnings have since been seized by the local county’s disciplinary commission.
Why it’s important: China’s prolific crypto enterprises have made the country a major world player since Bitcoin’s first boom. With companies like Bitmain, Binance, and OKCoin, it remains influential even after crackdowns on ICOs and crypto exchanges. A small-time miner like the Hunan high school principal faces barriers to entry in a competitive field, however, such as electricity costs. But even if he had been allowed to continue siphoning his school’s resources, profits would have likely sunk anyway: ether has dropped over 100% in value since this time last year.