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Bitcoins Improperly Mined on ESEA

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May 03, 2013

Bitcoins Improperly Mined on ESEA

By Ed Silverstein
TMCnet Contributor

An employee of a well-known gaming network allegedly improperly mined $3,700 worth of Bitcoins.

ESEA (E-Sports Entertainment Association) has since apologized to gamers who may have been impacted by the scheme, the BBC reported. But the employee initially “was part of an official experiment to see whether Bitcoin ‘mining’ was a feature that it wanted to include,” the BBC added.

Bitcoin mining requires a computer to solve a challenging math problem. A user also needs a Bitcoin address to receive the digital currency. The addresses are kept in Bitcoin wallets.

"With the whole fervor around Bitcoin, we did conduct some internal tests with the [software] client on only two of our own consenting administrators' accounts to see how the mining process worked, and determine whether it was a feature that we might want to add in the future,” ESEA said in a statement quoted by the media. "On April 13, after the initial tests, ESEA informed those involved in the test that we were killing the project and they should stop using the beta test.”

But one employee continued with the test “for his own personal gain," the company says.

"We are extremely disappointed and concerned by the unauthorized actions of this unauthorized individual," the statement said.

ESEA has given a free month's subscription to members and is providing support to anyone who had their computers damaged – as a result. Also, ESEA will donate the $3,713 to the American Cancer Society, and will match the amount with company funds.

In an initial report, ESEA co-founder Eric ‘lpkane’ Thunberg said the mining related to an April Fools prank.

“We went back and forth about it, considered doing something for April Fools, didn’t get it done in time, and eventually elected to put some test code in the client and try it on a few admin accounts, ours included,” according to a statement quoted by PCGamer.

There is another recent problem associated with Bitcoins. TMCnet’s Robbie Pleasant said it relates to links on Skype (News - Alert).

“A new type of malware has popped up, sending a message that prompts the recipient to click a link. Should that happen, it will drop a Bitcoin miner application to steal money for the malware author,” Pleasant said. It has already tricked people in Italy, Russia, Poland, Spain, Germany, Costa Rica and the Ukraine.

In other Bitcoin news, as of 4:14 p.m. (ET) yesterday Bitcoins were trading for $106, according to the MT Gox Exchange.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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