Cryptocurrency mining is an appealing business model. With the right hardware and access to cheap electricity, profits can be generated over time. It now appears college students are trying their hand at mining altcoins at their dorm, which raises a lot of concerns.
The Penn State Dorm Miner
When college students turn to cryptocurrency mining, interesting things tend to happen. For Patrick Cines, his goal was rather straightforward. With his dedicated hardware, he began mining cryptocurrencies using campus electricity. By combining several graphics cards, his unit is capable of mining Ethereum and other altcoins. It is uncommon to see such units show up in dorm rooms.
Cines left the machine running while he attended classes. As these miners do not require 24/7 oversight, it can turn into a small passive revenue stream. Cines envisioned making a bit of extra money while spending several years at Penn State. Unfortunately for him, realizing that vision has not been possible.
There is a lot more to mining cryptocurrency than meets the eye. Its biggest drawback is the massive generation of heat. Getting rid of excess heat in a dorm room is nearly impossible. Especially after a few hours of running, temperatures can run very high. For college students, it is unbearable, rendering the entire operation nearly useless.
Major Mining Hazards and Risks
Generating money with cryptocurrency is only part of the equation. Failing to get rid of excess heat can cause a fire hazard without the right precautions. Especially in a small dorm room, such incidents can happen sooner or later. Various reports can be found online regarding exploding or imploding cryptocurrency mining units.
Additionally, the rise of cryptocurrency malware cannot be ignored. Since the mining unit is connected to campus WiFi, malware can theoretically attack the entire network at Penn State. This has not happened to date, yet it is a potential risk one should not overlook. Add cryptojacking threats to this mix, and one mining enthusiasts can cause a lot of issues for all other campus attendees.
Despite the risks, crypto mining at school is on the rise. Research indicates most college campuses have at least one mining operation active at any given time. This is happening despite falling prices of Bitcoin and altcoins. For colleges, it creates a worrisome situation which needs to be kept in check. Exploiting the “free” electricity available in dorms for mining altcoins is a potential violation of campus rules.
How big of a problem is crypto mining on campus? What measures do you think colleges will put in place to curb it? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of ShutterStock