Alleged Ukrainian cryptocurrency mining operation with 3,800 PS4 Slims was actually designed for grinding FIFA Ultimate Team coins
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Not too long ago, Ukrainian authorities shut down what was thought to be a cryptocurrency mining farm that employed, of all things, PS4 gaming consoles. Many PC hardware components, including over 500 graphics cards and CPUs, were seized from the location, too. One can't help but wonder why the miners didn't use the graphics cards in question, given that they're objectively better than PS4 Slims. At that time, there was no reason to suspect that the setup was little more than a mining farm. With some ingenuity, one can rejig anything with a power button to mine crypto, so a PS4 Slim is well within the realm of possibilities. However, the Ukrainian news outlet Delo did some digging and found the setup much less sinister than initially anticipated.
Delo's investigation found that the entire setup was meant to grind FUT (FIFA Ultimate Team) coins. The budding entrepreneurs here probably wanted to make a quick buck off EA's massively popular football franchise, which has increasingly been criticized for its in-app purchases that encourage gambling. In essence, the only crime they committed was stealing power off the city grid. It was quite a significant amount, too, so the authorities are unlikely to go easy on them.
FUT coins are essentially an in-game currency that lets you build your dream squad by purchasing players from the auction house. One can also try their luck and buy FUT packs from the store and open them for a chance to get a 'good' player. While a player needs to remain online to earn FUT coins, playing with other human opponents is not mandatory. One can acquire the currency by playing with AI opponents and completing seasonal objectives, although that process is quite time consuming. That is where the automation comes in, as pre-programmed bots can effortlessly grind through the game without breaking a sweat.
EA's outrageous prices force many players to look at third-party sources for their fix of FUT coins. On paper, EA doesn't allow players to transfer the currency between accounts. However, there are plenty of third-party websites that will sell you FUT coins for cheap. One can even buy an account with a fully-stacked team. The latter is a safer route, as one doesn't run the risk of getting banned.