SETI [Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence] wants to expand operations at two separate observatories, but it's said to be lacking the computer hardware required because the demand for GPUs [graphics processing units] has soared due to people mining digital currencies like Bitcoin.
Speaking to the BBC, Dr Dan Werthimer said: "We'd like to use the latest GPUs [graphics processing units] ... and we can't get 'em...
"That's limiting our search for extra-terrestrials, to try to answer the question, 'Are we alone? Is there anybody out there?'
"This is a new problem, it's only happened on orders we've been trying to make in the last couple of months."
Dr. Werthimer - chief scientist at the Berkeley Seti Research Center - added that the money to buy the hardware needed is there, but the GPUs aren't readily available.
He explained that they need "a lot of computing power" to try to detect potential broadcasts from alien life
He said: "At SETI, we want to look at as many frequency channels as we possibly can because we don't know what frequency ET will be broadcasting on and we want to look for lots of different signal types - is it AM or FM, what communication are they using?"