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Florida’s Department of Citrus Employee Arrested for Mining Cryptocurrencies


An employee from Florida’s Department of Citrus has been arrested after allegedly using state computing power to mine for cryptocurrencies.

In a report from the Tampa Bay Times, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), 51-year-old Matthew McDermott, an IT manager for the agency, which regulates and markets the state’s citrus industry, had used several of the agency’s computers to mine for digital currencies, including bitcoin and litecoin.

The FDLE said:

A mining pool, or team, is used to solve mathematical equations in an effort to mine the virtual currency and win a reward. The pool combines its resources to help offset costs.

An investigation into the case found that McDermott purchased 24 graphic processing units, which are used to mine for cryptocurrencies, costing over $22,000 that he bought with a state purchasing card between July and December. According to an inspector general for the citrus agency, utility bills also increased for the department by over 40 percent between October 2017 and January 2017, costing it $825.

The police department have charged McDermott with grand theft and official misconduct. He was taken to Polk County jail and his bail was set at $5,000.

This news marks the latest where company computers are being used to mine for digital currencies. Last month, Russian scientists were arrested after it was reported that they had used a supercomputer at a Russian nuclear warhead facility to mine for bitcoin.

Yet, with the crypto market seeing a rise in the number of investors trading, there has also been an increase in the number of people turning their attention to the process of mining. For many, though, simply mining for cryptocurrencies on their own computers is becoming too expensive to undertake.

So much so, that a report from last week found that South Korea is the most expensive country to live in to mine for digital currencies. The study found that to mine for one bitcoin it costs $26,170. The least expensive was Venezuela which cost $531 to mine for one bitcoin.

As a result of these high charges, miners are using the resources where they work to achieve their goals. Yet, while people are aware of the risks they face if they get caught that doesn’t appear to be deterring them.

Featured image from Shutterstock.


Rebecca Campbell
Rebecca Campbell
Rebecca Campbell is a freelance bitcoin and blockchain journalist based in England. She has a keen interest in the blockchain space and the use cases the technology is being in and is excited to see what new changes the distributed ledger brings to our day-to-day lives.

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