Cybersecurity firm NortonLifeLock says its new software will allow users to mine cryptocurrency without the need for extra software.
A new feature for a select group of early customers will allow them to mine for Ethereum on their personal computers, turning idle time into potential profit.
The Norton-Crypto feature will give users a safe way to mine digital currency, a task that is typically difficult and time-consuming. Traditionally, mining requires enormous power reserves, as well as the forced disabling of security software or allowing unvetted programmes onto systems, putting data at risk.
However, according to Norton’s chief product officer Gagan Singh, customers can “mine for cryptocurrency with just a few clicks” allowing them to avoid “barriers to entry” to mine the currency.
“We are proud to be the first consumer cyber safety company to offer coinminers the ability to safely and easily turn the idle time on their PCs into an opportunity to earn digital currency,” Singh said in a statement.
Commenting on the new feature, Vincent Pilette, CEO of NortonLifeLock said: “As the crypto economy continues to become a more important part of our customers’ lives, we want to empower them to mine cryptocurrency with Norton, a brand they trust.
“Norton Crypto is yet another innovative example of how we are expanding our Cyber Safety platform to protect our customers’ ever-evolving digital lives.”
Software such as Norton-Crypto could be a game-changer in the world of cryptocurrency mining, but some are sceptical of the gains of such software. The amount of energy required to mine using Norton’s software could render the exercise unlikely to make a profit.
Additionally, the Ethereum community says it intends to phase out GPU-intensive mining with the next few months, stopping mining through the use of a PC’s hardware.
However, bitcoin is fast becoming popular as a form of currency for real-world applications. Companies such as digital marketing agency RankWorks said they would start accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment for digital marketing campaigns, as well as smaller organisations such as Aberdeen-based craft beer company OGV Taproom.
Digital wallet and payments platform Zumo welcomed more than 10,000 new UK app sign-ups in December following a drive to reach new users. The firm said that the success of the campaign indicates a growing interest in cryptocurrencies as a payment option.
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Consumers have been warned in the past of the potential risks of investing in cryptocurrencies on the promise that they’ll receive high returns, something which could become an issue once the coin becomes easier than ever to mine.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warned consumers in January of the increased risk with cryptoasset-related investments as they are unlikely to have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
The FCA issued guidance to consumers highlighting the perceived dangers of investing in the often-volatile cryptocurrency market.
At this stage, Norton has not said whether its crypto feature will be free, or if the firm plans to take a portion of the profit from the mined currency. Additionally, the firm has not announced whether users can transfer the mined Ethereum to another wallet.