if your apartment is cold and you heat it with electricity and you like to take things nice and slow.
Gamer hardware specialist Razer is asking customers to turn their graphics cards into cryptocurrency miners in exchange for rewards points. The Razer SoftMiner app will use idle cycles on the customer's GPU to help generate cryptocurrency and, in the process, earn them Razer Silver points that can be turned in for anything …
A while back, I figured it would only be a matter of time before someone tried this... given how reluctant people seem to be to pay for anything these days - especially on mobile - having the game also use a bit of spare processing power to generate crypto seemed an obvious way to monetize.
Personally, I don't have a problem with it so long as the developer is up-front about the mining and doesn't take the piss ie: stuff in a whole load of paid DLC and/or ads on top, or hijack every single bit of remaining processing power for crypto-mining that's not being used to run their game/application.
And it might even help developers back onto the path of writing lean software again, as opposed to depending on the user having to have a hugely powerful PC...
(To be honest, I'm amazed that crypo-mining hasnt already been stuffed into Google search/Chrome, Windows, Facebook etc...)
Razer have cleverly invented a way to achieve massively distributed crypto-mining without the need to pay for hardware or a room to house it and -- almost certainly -- with lower (and less fungible) upkeep costs than the electricity bill to run such hardware. I am sure that kids, everywhere, will grab this with both hands because they already have a machine on which to run it and the "Silver points" they will "earn" will be free from their perspective -- no need to ask mummy and daddy for the credit card to pay for them. Parents who aren't aware of this will probably never notice.
But electricity is not free and perpetual motion is not a reality and so the environment will pay.
The sooner we ban wasteful "wealth creation" scams like crypto-coins, the better. You cannot create "wealth" out of a random-number-generator. What is being created is a vehicle for redistributing pre-existing wealth: the very definition of currency and there are less wasteful ways to implement a currency.
People perceive crypto-mining as profitable because they fundamentally misunderstand the nature of crypto-coins: they have no value until someone pays real money for them. People do pay for them and so this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and inventing new scams to trick others into paying the mining costs remains a dominant strategy. As long as this is true, the only way to stop the madness is an outright ban.
Ban them all.
"the only way to stop the madness is an outright ban"
It's not generally possible for legislators easily to ban arbitrary activity on grounds of electricity waste. The fact that the main or only use case of crypto currencies is for money laundering is another matter entirely. Closing down the cash for crypto-coin exchanges as accessories to money laundering would probably kill the rest of the cancer including game coin for crypto coin exchanges.
It's not generally possible for legislators easily to ban arbitrary activity on grounds of electricity waste.
At least for another generation and a half when we'll be closer to Soylent Green levels of the decay of civilisation.
Up and coming requirement for waste food caddys...How soon will this include a requirement for grannys corpse to go in there too....?
"Razer have cleverly invented a way to achieve massively distributed crypto-mining without the need to pay for hardware or a room to house it"
There are several groups out there who have desktop mining applications that will do a basic tuning of your card, mine "optimal" coins and pay you out in the coin of your choice.
There are plenty more groups who do part of those processes. Often a lot better than the optimal coin mining etc.
You can get coins by running a server instance, where reliability is more important than any other thing. Running a mining pool or masternodes can pay you quite well for much less power cost. Obviously much more technical knowledge, and a chunk of funny money for the masternode wallet..
"Parents who aren't aware of this will probably never notice."
Whoever is paying the power bill will notice. If it's a power + heating bill, they may not. It's winter here, so running a half kilawatt heater for ~8 hours is about the same as running a 300W rig for ~12.
"The sooner we ban wasteful "wealth creation" scams like crypto-coins, the better."
IMHO it should fall under the same rules as gambling. Depending on your country, banning that may or may not fly.
For me it's a convenient and fungible non-currency asset. Have a mixed basket and all that, although I never keep much of it, so I missed some of the highs but also the lows.
"they have no value until someone pays real money for them"
That's pretty much the best definition of "value" we have :) Would you rather have a tin of beans or a gold coin? It depends on the situation.
I would suggest that at least one of the features that made the various coins take off is the ability to purchase drugs in a relatively safe and anonymous manner. That's a pretty big market. Plus a spot of money laundering and shadow banking, and there will be too many interested parties to ever let the die.
"inventing new scams to trick others into paying the mining costs remains a dominant strategy"
At least we agree here :) I don't mind if I know a webpage cracks out an extra cent or two of power to my CPU if it tells me. Just be upfront.
"Razer won't be pocketing the cryptocoins directly from the app, but rather taking a cash cut after passing them along"
I guess you could say that Razer will be...
(puts sunglasses on)
...taking a cut.
YEEEAAAAAA.... oh, wait, you *did* already say that.
They target the performance market, ie gamers who are willing to put top dollar to get good equipment (okay, if they choose Razer they may be making a slight mistake somewhere along the line, but that is the reasoning).
So please tell me how someone wanting performant hardware is going to accept crippling his FPS to mine stupidcoin ?
There's a leap of logic there that seems impossible to me. Like selling a Ferrari fitted with a tow hitch. Because sure, the guy is going to use his Ferrari to tow a caravan. Right.
High end cards are only taxed if you're playing the latest games at eye-watering quality settings.
If you're not playing something highly taxing then all that GPU power is going to waste. Cutting an FPS of 300 down to 60 isn't going to make a difference on a 60Hz screen.
"They target the performance market, ie gamers who are willing to put top dollar to get good equipment "
If you're using a keyboard and mouse for 8+ hours a day, why would you use anything other than a decent IO device?
This post written on a mechanical keyboard with red switches that would get me beaten to death if I used repeatedly in an open plan office.
They offer a deluxe Steam version of Shadow of the Tomb Raider on their silver store for 98000 Razer silver. Assuming 500 silver a day is the average cut like they say it is, that comes out to 196 days to get it. Now, if we assume that getting that 500 requires leaving on a 500W graphics card on for 24 hours(they don't give any numbers there), that's a total of 2352 kilowatt hours. Combine this with the average US cost of residential electricity(13.01¢ per kilowatt hour), that comes out to $306 as opposed to Steam's current price of $70 for the game. If we're more generous and say it only takes 6 hours to get that silver with our hypothetical GPU, we can get it down to $76.50, but that's still a losing proposition.
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