In some surprising news, antivirus software company NortonLifeLock (also known as ‘Norton’) is getting into crypto mining.
Norton is probably best known for its pop-ups saying your antivirus software is about to expire. So it seems a tad odd that it’s getting in on the crypto mining game.
But according to the company, its Norton 360 software is actually a perfect fit. Its argument is that it will protect users from dodgy mining software, as well as enable them to keep their antivirus on while mining.
Norton Crypto will mine Ethereum from your device
Beginning this week, Norton Crypto will roll out to customers in the Norton early adopter program, allowing them to mine Ethereum — the second biggest cryptocurrency in the world.
Gizmodo Australia has been told by a company spokesperson that Norton Crypto will be rolling out here in the coming weeks.
It will be available for all Norton 360 users by that time, however “certain PC hardware” will be required for it to work. We have asked for clarification on what this means.
The company also said that it will look into offering other reputable cryptos in the future.
“Crypto mining is already a big part of its customers digital lives, so NortonLifeLock accelerated its pace of innovation to ensure they have a safe and easy way to mine crypto,” a NortonLifeLock spokesperson said in an email to Gizmodo Australia.
“While the company will start slow, with a focus on helping customers safely mine Ethereum, NortonLifeLock is considering adding reputable crypto currencies in the future.”
The company also said it will be focusing on “top cryptos that allow our members to get the highest reward for their computing capacity.”
“It is a very dynamic space that is changing every week and we will look at potentially adding other currencies in the future,” the spokesperson said.
Norton Crypto will supposedly use a device’s GPU to mine Ethereum. It will then be stored in a cloud-based Norton wallet.
Norton told The Verge that users will be able to send mined Ethereum from this wallet over to Coinbase.
“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,” Vincent Pilette, CEO of NortonLifeLock, said in a press release.
“Norton Crypto is yet another innovative example of how we are expanding our Cyber Safety platform to protect our customers’ ever-evolving digital lives.”
How will it work?
As pointed out by Bleeping Computer, Ethereum is difficult to mine independently. So while it’s currently unclear exactly how Norton’s crypto mining will work, it’s theorised that every device will be part of a larger pool.
If this is the case, it will be interesting to see whether Norton takes a cut of the mined Ethereum using this as a new revenue stream for the company.
It would also be worth considering that crypto mining uses a lot of power. This has resulted in China cracking down on the practice. Until now, large-scale miners have been able to take advantage of the country’s comparatively cheap electricity prices by developing power-sucking crypto farms.
And it doesn’t seem like Norton wants you to turn your PC off now, either.
“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,” Gagan Singh, chief product officer at NortonLifeLock, said in a press release.
“With Norton Crypto, our customers can mine for cryptocurrency with just a few clicks, avoiding many barriers to entry in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.”
Gizmodo Australia asked NortonLifeLock about concerns around the power consumption of crypto mining and its subsequent environmental implications but the company did not answer this question.
This story has been updated to include the Australian roll out and comment from NortonLifeLock about the potential to offer other coins in the future.