Australia: Two Bureau of Meteorology Employees Questioned About Cryptocurrency Mining

Wednesday of last week, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) executed a search warrant at the Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne. According to ABC, people familiar with the raid said two employees were questioned regarding the use of the bureau’s powerful computers to mine cryptocurrencies. The rest of the bureau’s IT team was held in a conference room and told to wait while the two were questioned, they said. At least one of the employees who was questioned by the AFP has since gone on leave. As of yet, no one has been officially charged, but the investigation is continuing.

Cryptocurrencies are created by computers that have been tasked to solve complicated mathematical algorithms in a process known as mining. Over time, the equations become more difficult to solve, requiring miners to harness more computational power. Just last month, a group of scientists at a Russian nuclear research center were arrested for allegedly using the facility’s supercomputer to mine cryptocurrencies.

While mining cryptocurrency is not illegal, use of the bureau’s computers to carry out the process could be an illegal use of government resources. A spokesperson for the bureau and the AFP declined to answer questions, citing the ongoing investigation. This news comes just a month after the Bureau of Meteorology apologized for hosting fake ads that directed people to a Bitcoin scam, though it seems there is no connection between the scam and the current investigation.

If the employees were mining cryptocurrency, they may have been using the bureau’s computers to either avoid the significant electricity costs associated with mining, or they may have been taking advantage of the bureau’s powerful computational power, said Dr. Chris Berg, from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology’s Blockchain Innovation Hub.

“One possibility is that they’re trying to use some of the equipment that the Bureau of Meteorology have. The Bureau of Meteorology has some very fast computers. Another possibility, though, is that they’re just trying to get the Bureau of Meteorology to pay for the electricity. Mining is a very electricity-intensive task and they probably didn’t want to pay for it themselves,” said Dr. Berg.

With the dramatic rise in the value of cryptocurrencies over the past year, there have been several high-profile cases of dubious mining operations. One was in the form of YouTube ads which hijacked the computers of unsuspecting viewers to mine cryptocurrencies. Cyber-hackers also installed crypto-mining software onto a Tesla cloud account, and even more recently, 11 people were arrested for stealing computers from data centers in Iceland for mining.

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A motivational Youtuber from Mexico has been arrested over the alleged kidnapping of Thania Denisse, a 33-year-old lawyer. Germán Loera is thought to have led a gang of five to kidnap the woman. The group are also reported to have demanded the ransom be paid in Bitcoin.

Kidnapper has Scant History of Bitcoin Involvement

Loera has been an active Youtuber creating various motivational and self-help videos. These were relatively unknown until the 23-year-old was reported to be connected with the kidnapping. Naturally, his hits have increased rapidly since then. Local news source El Pais report the Chihuahua public prosecutor assigned to the case as stating:

“According to the investigation, the leader of the gang is Germán Abraham L. A., who has several videos on the internet as a Youtuber.”

The young internet personality is currently being held in custody and awaiting trial. Whilst he has no prior convictions, local media have hinted at a potential motive. Following the arrest, outlets reported that Loera’s father was recently murdered by a group of organised criminals. This has later been confirmed by the public prosecutor although there has been no explicit link made between the kidnapping and the murder yet.

There are also no real previous connections between Loera and Bitcoin. The only clue might lie in a Tweet to Bitso, one of the first Mexican cryptocurrency exchanges. The Tweet read:

 “I’d like to speak to you. We are the heads of marketing for the biggest bitcoin casinos in the world.”

The message did not receive a public reply, however. It seems likely therefore that the decision to accept Bitcoin as a ransom was done because of its pseudonymous qualities and the general misconception that Bitcoin transactions cannot be traced, rather than something deeper.

Since the story broke, comments on social media have been particularly scathing to the accused kidnapper. Some of called him a “delinquent” or a “liar” because of the hypocrisy of his self-help videos. Meanwhile, others have called for him to be executed by the state – despite the fact that the death penalty does not exist in Mexico.

The case of Loera is not the first time a kidnap ransom has been demanded in Bitcoin. Late last year we reported on a crypto-analyst at UK cryptocurrency exchange EXMO being kidnapped in Ukraine. The exchange ended up paying over $1 million for Pavel Lerner’s release.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin is continuing to be used by cybercriminals as a tool in ransomware attacks. These “digital kidnappings” involve the locking of data on infected machines. Hackers then demand a payment is made in Bitcoin for the information’s release. Last year, the WannaCry attack is thought to have infected over 200,000 computers in 150 countries.

Several brands already help users to monetise and control their raw personal data thanks to blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. However, only Biotron turns personal data into high-value analytics products that deliver more value for customers, better returns for users, and drive innovation.

Personal data is a commodity and data exchange products offer a valuable service. Data exchanges allow individuals to unlock the financial value of their own personal data. They give control back to the people who generate personal data, allowing them to decide what information they want to trade and who with.


Every data exchange brand currently on the market (eg. Datum and Datawallet) trades in raw data. The business model is based on simply redistributing an individual’s personal data with no real processing (except for some anonymisation) or addition of value of any kind. While there is a market for such data, it will always have an inherently low value. To be of any actual immediate benefit to an organisation, it requires further processing for business intelligence and strategic decision making.


Improved access to personal data is driving expectations as to what this information can achieve. Biotron gives all data purpose. It contextualises it and turns it into analytics that can be actioned by organisations. When compared to other simple raw data exchanges, Biotron gives customers access to the comprehensive analytics usually provided by data scientists and engineers. This process adds significant value for the data customer while reducing their costs. This increase in value is then shared with the data producer.

Biotron is capable of delivering four kinds of products:

  • Prescriptive. An analysis that reveals what actions should be taken. This is the most valuable kind of analysis and usually results in rules and recommendations for the next steps.
  • Predictive. An analysis of likely scenarios of what might happen. The deliverables are usually a strong forecasting tool.
  • Diagnostic. A look at past performance to determine what happened and why. The result of the analysis is often an analytic dashboard.
  • Descriptive. What is happening now based on incoming data in real time. To mine the analytics, you use a real-time dashboard and reporting.


Most data exchange products protect their users’ privacy with some form of anonymisation or pseudonymisation. With the incoming EU General Data Protection Regulation, data producers must give explicit consent on what data is being collected and how it is used. Biotron creates a direct relationship with data producers and their consent is managed quickly and simply, and can be revoked or altered whenever they wish. Biotron analytics will be anonymised or pseudonymised (unless data producers provide other consent), which makes it impossible to attribute a dataset to a specific person. Raw data does not have the same benefit. The intricate nature of our lives can in some instances make it possible to identify individuals by activity markers.


Large technology companies such as Facebook, Alphabet (Google), and Apple, horde personal data in centralised silos. They only release their datasets through their own products for their own benefit. In the case of Google, their siloed data is used for aggregated ad targeting mechanisms. While this is understandable, it stifles innovation. If this data was shared and combined with multiple other sources it could be used to drive functional changes with broad benefit.


Biotron’s decentralised approach to personal data drives innovation as organisations have access to analytics using hundreds of thousands of personal datasets. Datasets that flow directly from the producer. Their blockchain secured marketplace will cover analytics across:

  • Location Intelligence & Marketing
  • Traffic Analytics & Smart Cities
  • Finance & Insurance
  • Health
  • AI Training

With respect to location intelligence, for example, Biotron is “Google Analytics” for stores and brands. In smart cities and transport optimization Biotron will provide origin-destination matrices for smart cities to optimise their public transport models. Or they can request speed profiles of roads for a specific region through an API. These are the types of problems we will be helping to solve.

Biotron rewards users directly with its proprietary crypto token (BTRN) and indirectly through the innovation that true data sharing brings.

To request an interview with Biotron’s CEO, Pavol Magic, please contact Renata Smolkova at [email protected]. Pavol can discuss all topics in this release and is an expert in the monetisation of data products.

Education tokens (LEDU) are now listed for trade on and Bibox cryptocurrency exchanges.

Education Ecosystem (LiveEdu) CEO, Dr. Michael J. Garbade had this to say, “As ICO contributors know, due to legal restrictions we could not start work with centralized exchange listings until our ICO Round I was closed. This issue slowed us down, but we have made progress with the help of our advisors. We have already closed deals with two exchanges where Education tokens will be listed, namely Bibox,” lists LEDU tokens with ETH and USDT pairs, while Bibox lists LEDU with ETH and BTC pairs. The Education Ecosystem team is also in discussion with other exchanges and more announcements are expected to follow soon.

Both and Bibox will give away a Tesla Model S and Education tokens if you participate in the trading and deposit competitions. You can be the owner of a brand-new Tesla.

Token name: Education
Symbol: LEDU
Token address: 0x5b26C5D0772E5bbaC8b3182AE9a13f9BB2D03765
Decimals: 8

Some of the Reasons to Buy Education Tokens include:

1)Education Ecosystem (LiveEdu) has an existing beta product with an established monetization model and seasoned team. The team has extensive sector domain expertise in the education and video streaming space. Moreover, the team has worked for two years building LiveEdu. They have all the ingredients in place to scale the network and business in the coming months.

2) The Education Ecosystem is a marketplace that organically generates token demand through monthly subscription purchases. Education token price will not be driven only by financial speculators on exchanges but by actual product usage and company growth.

3) Currently, there is no established professional development platform or online education company that is focused on teaching people to build projects in future technology fields: artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, game development, data science, cryptocurrencies, programming, design, and augmented and virtual reality. They want nothing less than to be the place to go for professional development, no matter what country you are from.

4) A percentage of all tokens spent on subscriptions annually are burned, removing them from circulation and increasing the value of all remaining tokens.

About Education Token (LEDU)

Education Token (LEDU) is an ERC20 token residing on the Ethereum blockchain. It is used to power the Education Ecosystem and is a key component of their plan to disrupt the $306 billion professional development industry using the blockchain. Education tokens are used as payment for all financial transactions in the internal ecosystem, as well as rewards for project creators, learners, site moderators, and API ecosystem developers. Education tokens are also used for governance, giving users the power to vote on the future of the platform – not just what projects are being created, but the features that the development team implements and what new project topics to support. Education tokens will also be used in the external ecosystem to drive transactions with businesses, schools, libraries, colleges and online education companies.

Buy education tokens (LEDU) now on and Bibox!

Website and Social Media

How to Buy Education Tokens (LEDU):

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts will have noticed the Bitcoin price has taken another stumble. This latest downtrend comes at a rather surprising time. Worrisome news originating from Japan and the Binance rumors are not helping matters much. As is usually the case, this market will bounce back eventually.

Japanese Exchange Concerns

Perhaps the biggest Bitcoin price ‘scare’ originates from Japan. More specifically, the local Financial Services Authority has continued to scrutinize cryptocurrency companies. The results are relatively worrisome, although there is no reason to be overly concerned from a long-term perspective. FSHO and Bitstation are temporarily shut down by the FSA. Neither of these exchanges are “major trading platforms”, but the decision sets a rather worrisome precedent.

A total of four exchanges have been penalized, including Zaif. That exchange allowed users to buy Bitcoin for $0 due to a system glitch. GMO, Bicrements, and Mr. Exchange are also penalized. BitExpress and one unidentified exchange have their license withdrawn due to “irregularities”. Coincheck, which lost over $450m in customer funds, can’t reimburse users until further audits are completed. It is unclear how long this process will take exactly.

None of these developments are negative for cryptocurrency as a whole. Companies not adhering to guidelines need to be punished in one way or another. Japan is not banning cryptocurrency but rather creating an optimal ecosystem for all parties involved. In the long run, these developments will create a more robust ecosystem, which is a positive development.  All of these companies will come out stronger because of the “intervention” by the FSA in this regard.

Binance and the Bitcoin Price

As one would expect, all of this news has crippled the Bitcoin price a bit. With the value dropping quite quickly, the Bitcoin price even dropped below $10,000 at one point. This trend is compounded further by rumors regarding Binance being hacked. So far, the company stated all customer funds are safe. They did experience some “irregular trading” but it seems those problems have been rectified already.

With all of this news, the Bitcoin price is between a rock and a hard place. All of this news can be interpreted in many different ways. Right now, it affects the Bitcoin price in a negative manner, even though there is no issue in any regard. Binance funds are safe and the Japanese exchanges have time to sort out their internal issues and shortcomings. Nothing warrants a further Bitcoin price drop as of right now, yet markets hardly ever respond in a logical manner.

Once all of the FUD and uncertainty clears up, the market will resume its previous uptrend again. For the Bitcoin price, this can result in a price jump to $11,000 pretty quickly. As of right now, the industry is in a far better place than it was several years ago. Looking at the long-term play, the bullish trend is still in place without any issues. Binance is still operational and safe. The Japanese exchanges will come out stronger. Things are looking pretty good for the Bitcoin price moving forward.

The Ethereum Foundation is always looking to make a positive impact. They are actively looking into supporting applications, smart contracts, and other innovative projects. Earlier this week, the Ethereum Foundation announced their first grants to help bolster this ecosystem.

The Ethereum Foundation Grants

With a grant issued by the foundation, developers can keep working on their projects. There is a lot of research and development that goes into every single project. Empowering these innovative developers in any way possible is what the Ethereum Foundation aims to achieve first and foremost. Collaboration is critical in the way of blockchain technology and any feature derived from it.

For the community, these grants also play a big role. The “decisions” made by the Ethereum Foundation highlight projects worth keeping an eye on. No ecosystem is complete without looking at the technological implications from all different sides.Several key aspects of the Ethereum network need more support. With these grants, it becomes a bit easier to address those areas and support the people who attempt to improve the network as a result.

Especially in terms of scalability, usability, and security, there is still room for improvements. The Ethereum Foundation will continue to issue grants to solidify all of these different aspects moving forward. It is important to note support projects have no ICOs, token sales, or anything along those lines. These are all projects designed to make Ethereum better and stronger.

The “Lucky Winners” of the First Grants

Quite a few projects successfully received a grant. We see multiple projects focus on hackternship, which tackle Geth, Solidity, and Deterministic WebAssembly. Scalability is also a major area of work right now. L4 Research, Prysmatic Labs, Barcelona Supercomputing Center,  Turbo Geth, and Plasma Taiwan Dev all received grants of various sizes. These projects focus on sharding, state channels, Plasma, and so forth. All of these improvements will be quite positive for Ethereum once they go live on the network.

It is evident there are still a lot of improvements to come to Ethereum. The Ethereum Foundation helps all winners with technical advisory, a platform to share their work, and the non-dilutive funding. With L4 Research pocketing $1.5m, it seems state channels research is of the most interest as of right now. The Casper contract formal verification by Runtime Verification also netted a $500,000 grant. Casper is Ethereum proof-of-stake implementation, which should come to market relatively soon.