Ask Slashdot: Enterprise Bitcoin Mining for Go-Green Initiatives
On: 04/01/2013 Views: 24
Bitcoins are currently trading in the +/-$75 range. I work for a very large organization. We have a fairly large HPC that is usually about 50% idle, as well as about 18K desktops on 4 campuses connected with dark fiber. All stay on 24x7 for after-hours AV scans (weekly) and backups (2-3x a week). All are leases that refresh every 2 years so all have fairly good CPU & RAM specs. As part of a go-green initiative a proposal has come up to use all the PCs for bitcoin in our own mining group; sort of like seti-at-home style, but with a real dollar value return to us. Additionally, we would setup a queue in our HPC that dedicates 30% to BC mining when in use and up to 99.5% when no other jobs are running. The thought is that all the PCs are on 24x7 anyway and consuming resources so why not allow them to be useful 24x7 as well and generate bitcoins which can then be sold to offset the electrical costs of the running equipment and/or possibly even make a little profit. The guy with the idea says its a no-lose situation as if the price of bitcoins drops to below a certain level and is no longer a financially viable option, we simply stop the mining process. I'm curious what the Slashdot community thinks of this? Is it viable? Would we generate enough revenue to cover our electrical costs even with CPUs running at 100% utilization all evening? Are there any security risks? Any thoughts on network impact? The concensus is that the proposal sounds good, but no one has enough info to make a knowledgeable decision either way. Thus I'd like to know what Slashdot user's think.
As a follow-up question and one that came up after the initial proposal, this entire idea has us wondering why the botnet/malware guys aren't doing this already? It would seem like a trivial task to take a botnet of hijacked PCs and have them do BC mining instead of spreading more malware and generate real revenue for the owner's of the botnets wouldn't it?