Gaming company hit with $1 million fine for turning customer PCs into Bitcoin miners

By on November 20, 2013, 3:00 PM
pcs, gaming, bitcoin, fine, bitcoin mining, e-sports entertainment association

A gaming company by the name of E-Sports Entertainment Association (ESEA) has been hit with a $1 million fine stemming from a Bitcoin mining incident earlier this year. The company is being forced to pay $325,000 upfront and will only be charged the remainder of the penalty if they are caught misbehaving in a similar fashion over the next decade.

ESEA is responsible for letting CounterStrike players face off in anti-cheat matches, something that’s reserved for the most competitive gamers – around 14,000 paying customers at last check. Earlier this spring, the company toyed with the idea of adding a Bitcoin mining option to the anti-cheat client but ultimately gave up on the idea. Well, all but one rogue employee.

According to ESEA, said employee went ahead and distributed the Bitcoin mining code to unsuspecting customers the very next day for his own personal gain. It’s unclear exactly how many systems may have been mining Bitcoins but given the 14,000 subscriber base, it could be up to that many systems.

This went on for roughly two weeks before the company caught wind of it. In that time, the employee generated nearly 30 Bitcoins which would be worth more than $18,000 based on current exchange rates. Given the clientele (gamers), the employee was able to generate much more than he would have on a regular system as powerful gaming machines are excellent setups for mining.

ESEA said at the time they would donate the ill-received Bitcoins to charity and match the donation out of their own pocket. The employee in question has also since been terminated.

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