Employee Found Mining Ethereum Beneath Seoul’s Premier Opera House

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Seoul Arts Center, Source: Wikipedia/Oskar Alexanderson

An employee at South Korea’s most prestigious arts center and opera house – the Seoul Arts Center, in the affluent south-central part of the capital – has been found secretly mining Ethereum (ETH) in a basement room, using the center’s electricity.

Per Hangook Ilbo and YTN, the unnamed member of the center’s staff, presumably a civil servant, was suspended for two months. Employees conducting a routine inspection of a little-used basement room underneath the center’s Calligraphic Art Museum came across two ETH mining rigs, including sophisticated graphics cards, that had been connected to power outlets.

The unnamed miner, aged in his thirties, claimed that he had a number of mining rigs at his home and had simply brought the devices in question to work to “store them.” He admitted to bringing the devices to the site in October 2020, knowing that the area was unlikely to be searched. But when crypto prices began to soar in November, he decided to connect them to the center’s power network, aware that very few people ever ventured underneath the building – although he claimed he had tethered the devices to his mobile phone, rather than use the center’s internet connections.

He confessed to using a collection of disused center monitors as part of his setup.

The center concluded that he had used the rigs for just under 50 days, during which time he had used just under USD 275 worth of electricity – and mined some USD 575 worth of tokens. He was ordered to pay back the electricity costs, and his direct supervisor was also reprimanded for failing to discover what their team member had been up to.

The media outlets quoted a Seoul Arts Center spokesperson as stating that the employee had not been handed over to the police as he had immediately been forthcoming with a frank confession. The spokesperson concluded:

“We did not press criminal charges in this instance, but we handed out the strictest punishments possible according to our internal regulations.”

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