World News

Russia Arrests Nuclear Scientists Who Used a Supercomputer to Mine Bitcoin

Russia Arrests Nuclear Scientists Who Used a Supercomputer to Mine Bitcoin

A group of Russian scientists who were supposed to be working on that country's nuclear warheads chose instead to use the supercomputers at their disposal to mine for cryptocurrency. But there have been numerous other attempts recently in Russian Federation to harness corporate and industrial computer systems for illicit cryptocurrency mining as well.

Zalesskaya did not say how many people were detained, and the Federal Security Service (FSB) has not issued a statement on the arrests or criminal charges pending.

Bitcoin "mining" is essentially a hard computational process that the decentralised currency uses to keep records of which Bitcoin is where up to date.

The All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics in the town of Sarov is widely known for its petaflop-capable supercomputer, which was put into operation in 2011. And cryptocurrency enthusiasts are rewarded lucratively for mining with a stash of newly minted cryptographically-signed Bitcoin.

More news: Twitter Turns a Profit for First Time, but Problems Remain

Tatyana Zalesskaya, head of the institute's press service, confirmed the arrests to Interfax.

Investigators have opened a criminal probe into the "poor miners", the institute said, adding that such cases are frequent now at Russian companies with high computing power. It is a closed town, meaning you need a permit just to visit the area.

The Federal Nuclear Centre in Sarov, western Russian Federation, is a restricted area.

Sarov is surrounded by a tightly guarded no-man's-land, with barbed wire fences to keep the curious away. There are even suspicions that the radioactive polonium-210 used to kill ex-FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006 came from Sarov. It's a flawless fit, as mining cryptocurrencies requires great computational power and huge amounts of energy.


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