Bitcoin crazy bit everyone, especially the competitive gaming community ESEA as it secretly added a Bitcoin mining code which used player’s computers to mint more than $3,600 worth of bitcoins.
This was exposed when gamers started complaining that ESEA’s software was the source of anti-virus warnings, computer crashes and other problems. It was even reported that the graphics processors were on 90% load, even when the player’s systems were on idle. This posed a risk on end user’s systems, considering that Bitcoin mining process puts a high load on users hardware, which also amounts to a higher temperature.
Someone named ‘ENJOY ESEA SHEEP’ posted,”Turns out for the past 2 days, my computer has been farming bitcoins for someone in the ESEA community. Luckily I have family in the software forensics industry.”
Later, ESEA’s co founder and league administrator Eric Thunberg admitted it as complaints started increases. He even mentioned it on his post that Bitcoin mining was done for little over 2 weeks and mined about 29 btc into 3 of ESEA’s wallets, which was then converted into U.S. dollars that amounted to a total of $3,602.21.
In the end, ESEA said:
The owners and management at ESEA all apologize to each of you that were impacted by the recent events and intend to make things right. ESEA has issued a free month of ESEA Premium to all of our community members who were enrolled in Premium for the month of April. We also ask anyone who has experienced any physical damage to their computers to open an ESEA support ticket.
In an effort to maintain complete transparency, we have released all of the Bitcoin wallet addresses as well as data dumps of the wallets themselves. The value of the mined Bitcoins was $3,713.55 and ESEA will be donating 100% of the $3,713.55 to the American Cancer Society. ESEA will also match 100% of this amount for a total of $7,427.10 donated. ESEA is also increasing the Season 14 League prize pot by $3,713.55.
As a team, we work hard to create cool things and we’ve worked even harder to consistently do things the right way. While it’s incredibly disturbing and disappointing that this happened, we’re committed to improving ourselves and rebuilding trust with our community.
ESEA currently released a new client which doesn’t have the Bitcoin mining code. But in any case, this will create distrust between the players and ESEA and maybe even be in a situation where players can file a lawsuit against the management.