US bans professor found minting bitcoins with supercomputers


by CBR Staff Writer| 10 June 2014

He was using peta flops to generate coins.

The National Science Foundation of the US has banned an unnamed professor found to be using government funded supercomputer to mine bitcoins.

National Science Foundation (NSF), a US government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering, found the professor using supercomputers at two universities to mine the virtual currency.

NSF Office of Inspector General in its semi-annual report said, "The researcher misused over $150,000 in NSF-supported computer usage at two universities to generate bitcoins valued between $8,000 and $10,000. Both universities determined that this was an unauthorized use of their IT systems."

"The researcher asserted that he was conducting tests on the computers, but neither university had authorized him to conduct such tests -- both university reports noted that the researcher accessed the computer systems remotely and may have taken steps to conceal his activities, including accessing one supercomputer through a mirror site in Europe."

Following the report, NSF has terminated access of the researcher to all NSF-funded supercomputer resources while he has been banned government-wide.

Over the past year, bitcoin mining has become computing resource intensive, and miners are deploying increasingly powerful computers to be on the driver seat in the intense fight to pocket the crypto currency.

According to an estimate last September the entire mining network clocked 1 petahash/second rate, which is 40 times higher than what it was in January 2013.

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