During the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Karl Beacham, a mechanical engineer at the UK’s national fusion research laboratory, found himself in the midst of controversy. As an employee of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), he was accused of using government resources to mine cryptocurrency, Litecoin from December 2019 to June 2020.
Beacham claimed that he had received initial permission from the management to conduct his mining operations. However, this permission was later revoked, leading to an investigation into his activities. The investigation was triggered by an anonymous email sent to the agency’s chief operating officer, revealing that machinery was connected and mining cryptocurrency on the premises.
The tribunal documents revealed that Beacham’s mining operations were first discovered at the facility in 2019. The mining equipment, stored on-site along with several of his other belongings, was turned off by Beacham on June 15, 2020, shortly after UKAEA employees returned to the office post-lockdown.
The case took a turn when Beacham resigned, alleging detriment. He argued that his disclosures about people violating Covid-19 protocols shortly after the first national lockdown triggered the investigation into his cryptocurrency mining. However, an employment judge dismissed this claim in February of this year.