Feeds

Egghead dragged over coals for mining Bitcoin on uni supercomputer

$150k of compute power to trouser $10k in BTC

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The US National Science Foundation has suspended a researcher for using two university computers to mine Bitcoins.

In its biannual report [PDF] to the US Congress, the government agency revealed the misdoing and recommended action:

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.

The researcher’s access to all NSF-funded supercomputer resources was terminated. In response to our recommendation, NSF suspended the researcher government-wide.

The report – published this week – is dated March 2014, when the value of Bitcoin fell from around $660 to $460 which would indicate that about 20 Bitcoins were mined in total. The value of Bitcoin has since recovered to around the $660 mark.

The NSF describes itself thus:

The National Science foundation invests approximately $7 billion per year in a portfolio of more than 35,000 research and education projects in science and engineering, and is responsible for the establishment of an information base for science and engineering appropriate for development of national and international policy.

The fact that so much raw computing power was necessary to mine a relatively small number of Bitcoins is a reflection of how the days of using general-purpose computers, even powerful ones, to generate alt-currency are over. Bitcoin mining today needs specialist hardware.

None of which is going to help the legitimacy the Bitcoin industry is so desperately seeking, which is perhaps why so many with vested interests (OK, I’ve got three and a half) are trumpeting the comments by online tat-bazaar chief John Donahoe that eBay is planning on supporting Bitcoin. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.