Russian Nuclear Scientists Arrested
Two Russian Nuclear Scientists arrested on Friday while working at a top-secret nuclear weapons research base, for allegedly using a supercomputer on the site to mine cryptocurrency. Even though it hasn’t been confirmed if the workers profited from their unsanctioned mining activity, they’re likely to face serious criminal charges. According to reports from BBC, the employees had attempted to mine Bitcoin using one of the most powerful supercomputers in Russia. This incident took place at a highly restricted Federal Nuclear Center located in Sarov, Russia. It also happens to be the same location where the Soviet Union’s first nuclear bomb was designed.
The facility’s press service stated, “There has been an unsanctioned attempt to use computer facilities for private purposes including so-called mining”. Moreover, the accused in this incident could be charged with much more serious offenses than simply mining Bitcoin illegally. For instance, the accused might be charged with infringing on the privacy and security of the nuclear research center, a violation of national security. This is because the supercomputer allegedly used for mining purposes was not supposed to have been connected to the internet. Exposing the computer to the internet could have compromised its security.
A Very Serious Criminal Offense
Soon after the scientists connected the supercomputer to the internet, the facility’s security personnel were alerted. Now, these scientists are in the custody of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). The FSB is mainly tasked with implementing government policies to safeguard national security. At this time, the FSB has not issued an official statement regarding the detainment of the accused. However, Tatyana Zalesskaya, head of the nuclear center’s press service stated, “As far as we are aware, a criminal case has been launched against them”.
Ms. Zalesskaya also thinks that these types of incidents are likely to take place even more in the future. In fact, she mentioned that …
“Similar attempts have recently been registered in a number of large companies with large computing capacities, which will be severely suppressed at our enterprises”.
An Attractive Place For Crypto-Mining
It’s evident that the scientists exercised very poor judgment when deciding to mine cryptocurrency using a computer dedicated for the country’s secretive nuclear research and other related purposes. If they really wanted to mine cryptocurrencies, they should have used their personal or at least fully authorized computing services. Their negligent actions will probably be severely punished.
On a brighter note, Russia boasts very large and low-cost energy reserves, and because of this, it is considered to be a very attractive place for cryptocurrency mining. As most crypto-enthusiasts are aware, crypto-mining consumes a lot of electricity. Therefore, being able to use it at an affordable rate provides an added incentive to mine crypto. In fact, crypto-mining in the country has become so popular that Alexei V. Moiseev, Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister, said that many younger Russians now give server farms (for crypto-mining) as gifts instead of diamonds.
There’s no denying that cryptocurrency mining has become quite popular in Russia. Youtube has been flooded with countless videos and advertisements related to cryptocurrency mining farms. Most of the videos tend to offer lucrative business proposals related to investing in the computing intensive process. The Russian government and its regulatory authorities have caught on to this fairly recent trend and will be introducing new legislation which will require miners to register and report any profits made from this activity. Presumably, it will be subject to taxes just like any other profit-generating business. Now, let’s all mine responsibly.