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ESEA blames rogue employee for bitcoin mining scheme

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One of the co-founders of the E-Sports Entertainment Association, or ESEA, says "an employee acting on his own and without authorization" was responsible for a scheme in which users of its client had their PCs unwittingly mine for bitcoins, the digital currency.

An employee involved in the testing of the bitcoin mining code, which ESEA co-owner Eric "lpkane" Thunberg said began as an April Fools prank, had been using the code "for his own personal gain since April 13, 2013," wrote ESEA co-founder Craig "Torbull" Levine on the association's website.

"What transpired the past two weeks is a case of an employee acting on his own and without authorization to access our community through our company's resources," Levine wrote. "We are extremely disappointed and concerned by the unauthorized actions of this unauthorized individual.

"As of this morning, ESEA has made sure that all Bitcoin mining has stopped. ESEA is also in the process of taking all necessary steps internally to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again."

Levine goes on to apologize on behalf of the ESEA for the violation, offering ESEA Premium subscribers a free month in the service and asking "anyone who has experienced any physical damage to their computers to open an ESEA support ticket."

The ESEA will donate $7,427.10 — double the value of the mined bitcoins — to charity, Levine says, and will increases the prize pot in its season 14 league 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," Levine concludes. "While it's incredibly disturbing and disappointing that this happened, we're committed to improving ourselves and rebuilding trust with our community."