Internet cafes are turning to cryptocurrency mining in a bid to mitigate losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Star Computer — reportedly one of Vietnam’s biggest internet cafes — repurposed graphics cards from unused gaming machines to create crypto mining rigs.
Now, Star Computer wants to recruit others affected by COVID-19 to follow suit.
“Transforming business in the pandemic,” reads an automatically translated Facebook post from Star Computer last week.
“Profits are higher than [internet] business, [internet cafe] owners who want to do it, please contact me to do it for free.”
Internet cafes mining cryptocurrency isn’t totally new, but previous examples of such operations have mostly been illegal.
In 2018, a hacking crew teamed up with computer maintenance staff to reportedly earn $800,000 by injecting Siacoin mining malware into more than 100,000 computers spread across 30 Chinese cities.
A year later, authorities busted an illicit mining operation that allegedly stole enough electricity from internet cafes to generate $20 million worth of cryptocurrency in two years.
With this in mind, it’s reassuring to see cafe owners putting their hardware to good use without the need to hide it from patrons — or the police.