There’s this story from Tampa, Florida. A state government employee used government computers to mine for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for his personal enrichment. It appears that he used taxpayer money to purchase graphic processing units to do so, and ran up his agency’s electric bill by over $800.
He’s now been arrested for the scam. Reason Magazine makes the obvious point that the department he works for, the Department of Citrus, is a much bigger scam that costs the taxpayers a lot more money than one rogue employee.
But here’s a bigger question. All levels of government, from federal down to county and city, presumably have computers, and countless government offices must surely have a decent amount of unused computing capacity sitting around. Shouldn’t they be required to assess that unused capacity and then, when it’s profitable to do so, put it to use mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies? Whatever they create could then be sold at market value and the money used to pay government bills and the savings passed on in the form of lower taxes. Since it’s the taxpayers who pay for all government computers in the first place, isn’t it a ripoff if our computers aren’t put to use saving us money?