Senior scientists at Seti, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, have said that they can not find enough graphic processing units (GPUs) to process the data gathered from radio telescopes that scan for signals beaming in from space.
[Crypto-currency mining] is limiting our search for extra-terrestrials, to try to answer the question, 'Are we alone? "Is there anybody out there?'", Dr Werthimer told the BBC.
"This is a new problem, it's only happened on orders we've been trying to make in the last couple of months", Dr. Dan Werthimer told the BBC.More news: Facebook rolls out Messenger Kids
Mining involves solving complex mathematical puzzles which are used to lock cryptocurrency transactions to the blockchain. On the other hand, SETI researchers looking for signs of intelligence life use the GPUs to scan multiple communications frequencies at once, listening for potential signals from space. According to a researcher at the Carl Sagan-founded SETI Institute, computers will likely soon become much faster, boosting the search for extraterrestrial life, Motherboard reports. The arrays can pick up the faintest whispers of radio frequencies coming into the solar system from elsewhere in the universe, including from natural phenomena such as collapsing stars. The Seti scientists are now trying to improve their capacity for analyzing such data at two observatories: Green Bank in West Virginia and Parkes in Australia.
However, cryptocurrency mining has caused the cost of the GPUs to skyrocket, almost doubling in price, thanks in particular to the rise in Ethereum cryptocurrency mining.
At the time, major chip-maker Nvidia said that retailers should make arrangements to make sure gamers' demands were met.
Parsons expressed concern that radio astronomy work, meanwhile, could be halted entirely if the GPU shortage continues. The aforementioned telescope listens to low-frequency radio waves emitted by hydrogen before the first galaxies formed in the early universe.More news: 3438 civilians killed in Afghanistan previous year
As the price of bitcoin has continued its bull run this week, cryptocurrencies have indeed been linked to aliens or, more specifically, our inability to find them. Trying to earn a little Bitcoin or Ethereum?
And that's when you can get the GPUs at all. As a result, SETI has as many as 100 GPUs at some telescopes.
But Mr Hickey has also noticed that GPUs are now being sold on sites such as Ebay at inflated prices.More news: Egypt says foreigners arrested amid Sinai operation