An Imperial student used College computers to mine 30,000 Dogecoins. The Dogecoin, which was first introduced three months ago and is inspired by the popular Doge meme, is one of a number of cryptocurrencies set up following the spectacular success of Bitcoin. Such cryptocurrencies are not controlled by a central bank but rather by a pre-determined algorithm. Individuals can donate some of their computer’s processor time to running this algorithm and managing transactions performed using these currencies. They are rewarded for this by being awarded newly generated coins of that currency – this process is referred to as mining and is the only way in which new Dogecoins and Bitcoins can be produced. Working late at night, the student was able to use ordinary desktop terminals to mine the Dogecoins. He follows the example of a Harvard Student who used their University’s research supercomputer for Dogecoin mining. The currency has been growing in both value and popularity – most notably having been used to fundraise the money to send the Jamaican bobsled team to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. However Dogecoins are not yet worth anywhere near as much as Bitcoins – the student’s efforts have only earned him the equivalent of £20. Speaking to CoinDesk reporter and former Felix editor Kadhim Shubber earlier this week the anonymous student said that he decided to use College computers rather than buying a powerful computer because he doesn’t “find the cryptocurrency market stable enough to make real investments, at least for now, on a student budget”. He added that: “I’ve not had a single issue yet, so I’ve kept scaling up! It seems they don’t have anything set up to bring attention to the fact I’m maxing out the CPUs, which is nice”. However, by Tuesday the scheme was discovered by College ICT, resulting in the student being permanently banned from using the College’s more powerful research supercomputers. In a statement to The Tab Imperial, the College said: “Use of the College’s IT facilities for commercial purposes is not permitted without authorisation. Imperial investigates and takes appropriate action against instances of misuse, in line with information policies. Occasional personal use of College machines is permitted where use does not disrupt the conduct of College business or other users.”
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