A Russian man was jailed for secretly mining bitcoin cryptocurrency at the nation’s prime nuclear research center which developed nuclear weapons.
Former employee Andrey Rybkin was sentenced to three years and three months in prison on Thursday for the “unauthorized use of computer capabilities” to secretly mine bitcoin at work. The court also ordered him to pay a fine of 200,000 rubles ($3,130).
Rybkin worked at Russia’s leading nuclear research facility in the city of Sarov, around 370km from Moscow. Mining bitcoin requires expensive and powerful hardware, as well as a lot of electricity. So the tech-savvy employee apparently decided that the nuclear center would be the perfect place to reap loads of cryptocurrency, especially since a brand new supercomputer was installed there a few years ago.
In fact, Rybkin is not the only one who has tried to mine bitcoin at the facility. Another employee was fined 450,000 rubles ($7,045) last month for doing the same thing, and one more received a four-year suspended prison sentence and was fined.
Researchers at the Sarov nuclear center developed Russia’s first nuclear and hydrogen bombs during the Cold War. Work vital to the nation’s nuclear arsenal is still carried out at the facility, and the unique Nuclear Weapons Museum is located there.
Due to the highly sensitive nature of its facilities, the city of Sarov remains closed to foreigners and tourists. Russians who don’t permanently live in the city also need special permission to travel there.