The follow of “mining” for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum needs a huge number of computing power. Dr. Dan Werthimer, chief scientist at Berkeley SETI, claims his group is having difficulties to find the effective laptop chips it requires to approach info from its listening arrays, which scan the universe for radio transmissions, because a similar chips, known as graphics processing units (GPUs), are being accustomed to mine for cryptocurrencies.
“We’d choose to make use of the latest GPUs [graphics processing units]… and we will not get ’em,” Werthimer instructed the BBC Opens a fresh Window. . “This is a new problem, it really is only took place on orders we have been hoping for making in the past pair of months.”
A huge surge in the worth of bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin in current months has produced an unparalleled international demand for cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin’s benefit has risen greater than 800% since February 2017, mounting as high as $19,206 for each coin final December right before plunging to about $10,000 as of the week.
Business leaders from JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon to billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban have publicly talked about regardless of whether cryptocurrencies, which have exhibited extreme volatility, undoubtedly are a bubble or maybe a money prospect.
Wethimer suggests SETI is enthusiastic about expanding its infrastructure at observatories in West Virginia and Australia, but has become not able to safe the required gear.
“We’ve obtained the money, we have contacted the sellers, they usually say, ‘We just do not have them’,” he said.