Gaming hardware company Razer wants to delve into cryptocurrency mining.Anyone interested in reverting back to 2011 and taking a shot at earning some extra spending cryptocurrency via GPU mining can jump onto Razer, download software, and get started. In other words, just like early adopters of cryptocurrency did back in the ‘old days’, gamers can mine crypto with their idle GPU-enabled computers. This ‘generous’ opportunity, however, has the gaming and the crypto community confused — and somewhat annoyed.
Cryptocurrency mining is how transactions are calculated and added to the digital ledger on a proof-of-work blockchain. Mining is an intentionally laborious and energy-intensive process, requiring both time and quite a bit of electricity. However, it can be done by any computer with internet access. Back in the day (which, in the crypto world, wasn’t really that long ago) pretty much anyone could generate income mining cryptocurrency using idle CPUs. Miners would be rewarded for their efforts in a pre-set, mining community-agreed-upon percentage of crypto. Everyone was happy.
So @Razer wants their users to mine cryptocurrencies while their computers are idle. This sounds great.— WhalePanda (@WhalePanda) December 13, 2018
But the users don't actually get cryptocurrencies, they get store credit and only a fraction worth of what the mining is actually producing in $ value.https://t.co/rSRmdWHnn7
A New ‘PU’Things changed when Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) began to be used for mining. GPUs are primarily designed for use in gaming and creative platforms. They are exponentially more powerful than CPUs, resulting in faster transactions and use less energy than CPUs. Their integration into cryptocurrency mining changed the process forever. The next technological innovation to drastically change crypto mining was the introduction of the application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). Faster and more efficient than both CPUs and GPUs, ASICs hardware rendered individual mining virtually obsolete. Mining was already on this path, with the proliferation of mining farms. Mining farms are large quantities of hardware setup in geographic locales where electricity is cheap. These farms mine at a rate that no individual rig can compete with. So, in this highly efficient state that crypto mining is currently in, what exactly is Razer’s plan? Gamers download a program called SoftMiner in order to mine cryptocurrency when they are not gaming. The company has partnered with GammaNow, a platform that will manage the mined crypto in exchange for paying Razer a fee for any crypto mined. The problem with this plan is, Razer doesn’t have any intention of paying gamers in any sort of currency, crypto, fiat, or otherwise. Instead, the reward for the use of their computers, including time, wear and tear, and energy will be given solely in rewards points. These rewards points can only be redeemed as discounts on Razer products within the Razer network.
Some Fatal FlawsGamers are a dedicated bunch. Depending on the platform and the player, it is not unusual for large amounts of time to be spent gaming. They are also fairly technologically savvy. The notion that their computers are sitting around “idle,” waiting to be used, is questionable. The notion that they will amicably download random software onto their systems is almost laughable. Razer Silver, the rewards program wherein points will be earned in exchange for mining, is not new. It is already in use with Razer Cortex, a desktop app designed to improve performance. The type of graphics card gamers use, as well as the amount of time their computer is running the SoftMiner program apparently determines how much Silver is earned. This, of course, can also be interpreted to mean that a more expensive GPU combined with a solid commitment to paying a drastically higher monthly electricity bill may result in some discounted stuff from Razer. Of course, in order to earn the Silver this way, gamers cannot actually be online interacting with other gamers, on the Razer site or otherwise. They certainly cannot be purchasing Razer products, regardless of their discounted rates from Silver. For most gamers, this should put a bit of a damper on the whole idea.
Is there any hope?It is possible that Razer thinks people have forgotten the trajectory crypto mining has been on. Indeed, it is often easy to forget that things move much more quickly in the crypto space than they do for the rest of the world. It is also possible that the this latest project they have embarked upon was not well planned or well communicated. If this is the case, a few modifications to the industry’s current understanding of Razer’s plan could be well received by potential participants. However, until a more user-friendly option is generated, gamers are unlikely to get on board. Do you think Razer’s ‘credits-for-crypto’ model will be popular among gamers? Will this have any effect on GPU prices in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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