Russian Nuclear Scientists Caught Mining Cryptocurrency

female scientist next to supercomputer

Russia has turned into something of a cryptocurrency hotspot, with authorities there becoming surprisingly welcoming to crypto innovation. However, even they have their limits, and when they discovered that scientists at a top secret nuclear facility were using the supercomputers to mine cryptocurrencies, they decided that things had gone too far.

According to the Scientific Research Institute for Experimental Physics, “an attempt at unauthorized use of the institutes’s equipment for personal needs, including so called mining.”

The facility is located in Sarov and is still a restricted area. Under Stalin it created Russia’s first nuclear bomb. It also houses some of the country’s most powerful supercomputers, which are kept offline to keep them secure. It seems that authorities were alerted when one of the machines was connected to the internet, necessary to mine cryptocurrencies.

Tatyana Zalesskaya of the institute’s press service said that the engineers would be subject to criminal prosecution. “Similar attempts have recently been registered in a number of large companies with large computing capacities,” she said, “which will be severely suppressed at our enterprises, this is technically a hopeless and criminal offence.”

As Ms Zalesskaya said, this is not the first time that Russia has had problems with unauthorised cryptocurrency mining. In December, Transneft, the world’s largest oil pipeline company, found out that some of their computers had been mining Monero. Company Vice President Vladimir Rushailo warned that such schemes, “could have a negative impact on the productivity of our processing capacity.”

Russia is close to finalizing its legislation regarding cryptocurrencies. President Vladimir Putin is known to be open to the idea of a state-backed “cryptoruble” which might allow the country a way around the international sanctions levied after the annexation of the Crimea. Since the crackdown in China, Russia has become increasingly attractive for mining cryptocurrency, though the government would prefer miners don’t hijack their nuclear facilities for that purpose.

Image From Shutterstock

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