An advanced computer network at Harvard University was hijacked to mine digital coins known as Dogecoin, similar to Bitcoin, the university revealed last week. According to Theodore R. Delwiche, writing for the Harvard Crimson, the university would not reveal who was responsible, but indicated that the culprit had previously enjoyed computing privileged on Harvard’s network that had subsequently been revoked.
Digital currencies like Dogecoin and Bitcoin are “mined” by using high-powered computers that solve complex problems. Investors often buy expensive computers solely devoted to the task, hoping for high returns as they find more coins and as the value of digital currencies rises. By using Harvard’s advanced “Odyssey” computing cluster, the miner evidently hoped to mine greater quantities of digital currency for little to no personal cost.
Though digital currencies occupy an uncertain regulatory space, Dogecoin has grown rapidly in popularity, at times exceeding Bitcoin in the number of online transactions using the currency. Donations through Dogecoin helped fund the Jamaican bobsled team’s trip to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The combined estimated value of Dogecoin currently in circulation was reported to be $62 million at the beginning of February.
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