At the New York Times DealBook conference on Thursday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said his 11-year-old son was using the family’s home PC to mine ether.
Pichai had been asked about how he thinks about screen time for his children. A recent New York Times article described parents living in Silicon Valley and working in tech as saying they were often most concerned about excess screen time and tech addiction among children.
“I’m like every other parent I guess,” Pichai said. “I do test a lot of gadgets at home, so I have vulnerabilities in terms of how my kids get access to stuff.”
Pichai then said his son had been mining ether, the cryptocurrency tied to the Ethereum blockchain.
“Last week I was at dinner with my son, and I was talking about something about bitcoin, and my son clarified what I was talking about was Ethereum, which is slightly different,” Pichai said. “He’s 11 years old. And he told me he’s mining it.”
The Google CEO was asked whether he had a server in his home to assist in his son’s mining efforts, to which he said his family had only a simple computer, one that Pichai built himself.
Pichai said he did have to explain to his crypto-minded son the nation’s monetary system “and how paper money actually works.”
“I realized he understood Ethereum better than how paper money works,” Pichai said. “I had to talk to him about the banking system, the importance of it. It was a good conversation.”
Pichai’s son isn’t the only child of a Google executive who’s mining cryptocurrency.
At a blockchain conference hosted by Sir Richard Branson in Morocco in July, the Google cofounder Sergey Brin also said he and his son had been mining ether.
“A year or two ago, my son insisted that we needed to get a gaming PC,” Brin said. “I told him, ‘OK, if we get a gaming PC, we have to mine cryptocurrency.’ So we set up an Ethereum miner on there, and we’ve made a few pennies, a few dollars since.”
The interview with Pichai came on the same day as thousands of Google employees around the world walked out in protest of the company’s handling of sexual-misconduct allegations.
“This anger and frustration within the company, we all feel it,” Pichai said when asked about the protests. “I feel it too.”