Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Cory Rios

Russia: Scientists at secret nuclear weapons laboratory arrested for allegedly mining bitcoin

Russia: Scientists at secret nuclear weapons laboratory arrested for allegedly mining bitcoin

Interfax spoke with Tatyanna Zalesskaya, a press representative for the Federal Nuclear Center, who confirmed that multiple employees were apprehended.

The Federal Nuclear Centre in Sarov, western Russian Federation, is a restricted area.

Scientists at Russia's top nuclear research facility were detained for allegedly mining bitcoin, BBC reported on Friday.

Bitcoin mining is basically competitive bookkeeping: Miners build and maintain a permanent ledger of every transaction, known as a blockchain.

Such attempts "at our enterprises will be harshly put down, this activity technically has no future and is punishable as a crime", the Center's spokeswoman said.

The supercomputer was not supposed to be connected to the internet - to prevent intrusion - and once the scientists attempted to do so, the nuclear centre's security department was alerted.

The first Soviet nuclear weapon was produced in 1949 at the institute, which is in Sarov, a Russian city about 250 miles from Moscow.

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What is Bitcoin and how does it work?

In a report from global Business Times (autoplay video warning), a number of Russian nuclear scientists were arrested for allegedly using lab equipment to mine for cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoins are created without using middlemen - which means no banks take a fee when they are exchanged.

With Bitcoin offering constantly skyrocketing values, it's no surprise that people not involved in the IT/data/finance industries are now trying to get their hands on some of this precious digital currency. Because there is no centralized server, this task is farmed out to hundreds of thousands of devices around the world that work to solve the equations.

But the bubble appears to have now burst and questions remain over what market there is for it long-term.

We would need more information to make an informed estimate of how much these crooked scientists made off with, but it's still fun to imagine how many coins they mined.

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