Why Would A Gaming League Steal Your Computer’s Power For Bitcoins?

Posted by on May 2, 2013 at 10:56 am
Bitcoin mining is an expensive proposition, unless you're using someone else's equipment to do it.

Bitcoin mining is an expensive proposition, unless you’re using someone else’s equipment to do it.

If you want a slice of the Bitcoin pie, you’ll either have to shell out cash or invest a lot of electricity into your computer’s number-crunching capabilities to mine them from the digital ether. As Kelly explained on a recent PRO SHO, the result of his 24-hour, 100% CPU/100% GPU blast was a whopping seven cents, a fraction of the amount needed to power his computer for that long. So what happens when you’ve got access to 14,000 high-powered gaming computers? Well, you can do a lot more than that, about $3,300 worth.

I don’t play games competitively, but if I did, I might’ve had a clue who the ESEA was before researching this post. By becoming a premium member and downloading their client, you have access to a complex set of tools that allow you to play legitimate online matches. It’s a concept that made me nostalgic for matchmaking networks like TEN and MPlayer from the dial-up days before developers wised up and started building their own server browsers and chat clients. Apparently, the ESEA’s a big deal.

Earlier this year, the ESEA included a Bitcoin miner in their client as part of an “April Fool’s joke gone wrong” and moved it to a few computers before axing the component entirely. The story goes that an ESEA employee decided that it was a pretty good way to make some fundage on the side and sent the affected Bitcoin-assisting client out to the masses. It wasn’t until yesterday that a user figured out that the ESEA client was using all of his computer’s processing time and the specific employee was dealt with in some disciplinary, hopefully legal, fashion.

The ESEA has gone through and apologized and added more than double the damages in future pots and donations, but the question remains: how did something like this come about? How does the idea of turning your client into a Bitcoin miner get conceived, acted upon, and deployed, even if to a small number of machines? We all make mistakes, but whatever that rogue employee pulled off is derived entirely from whatever crazy things the ESEA wanted to do with their client software.

Source: Wired

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