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Bitcoin

Russian nuclear scientists arrested for using top-secret supercomputer to mine bitcoins

Russian scientists working at a top-secret nuclear warhead facility have been arrested for trying to use one of the supercomputers to mine bitcoins, BBC reports.

To obtain bitcoin, so-called miners "use special software to solve math problems and are issued a certain number of bitcoins in exchange," Bitcoinmining.com explains. But "not just any old PC will do," Chris Gayomali explained at The Week. "Dedicated bitcoin mining rigs with the sole purpose of crunching through algorithms can cost you up to $6,000 on eBay."

That might explain why the crafty scientists decided to use one of Russia's most powerful supercomputers, located at the highly-restricted Federal Nuclear Centre in western Russia. The computer has a capacity of one petaflop, which means it can do 1,000 trillion calculations in the span of a second.

There was only one problem in this grand plan: For security reasons, the supercomputer is never supposed to be connected to the internet — and when the scientists tried to do so, the security department was alerted. "As far as we are aware, a criminal case has been launched against them," reports Russian news service Mash.