Latest Zcash Ceremony Used Chernobyl Waste via Coindesk

Developers working on the privacy-oriented cryptocurrency zcash have employed nuclear waste from Chernobyl in the network’s latest secrecy-assuring ceremony.

The devs, Ryan Pierce and Andrew Miller, held their latest “Powers of Tau” ceremony last weekend, and notably used the nuclear waste to generate random numbers.

Miller said:

“Powers of Tau is all about generating and safely disposing of cryptographic ‘toxic waste.’ So, what better way to generate entropy than with actual radioactive toxic waste?”


Miller said a radioactive graphite moderator acted as the source for low-level gamma and beta radiation. The graphite was sourced from the core of the Chernobyl nuclear facility, which suffered a catastrophic meltdown in 1986. A Geiger tube connected to a number generator converted radioactive pulses into digits, which were then incorporated into the code.

“The entropy source was a hardware-based random number generator utilizing a Geiger tube and a radioactive source, constructed and programmed by Ryan Pierce,” Miller said.

The graphite emitted very low levels of radiation, “falling substantially below all thresholds that might restrict its transportation by air, and posting no health risk,” according to Miller. In fact, the amount of radiation emitted is only a few times the level of background radiation that people receive on Earth, Pierce said in a video describing the experiment.

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