"Crypto, crypto everywhere, but not a single coin to spend."
This line perhaps captures the best essence of the entire crypto world, or at least for someone who missed a good ride. Virtual currencies are now commonly owned as assets, commodities, and as a method of payment. However, they still have a long way to go where the regulatory authorities and the crypto community need to land up on the same page with mutual understanding for sustainable growth. For the moment, it's just the trading of cryptocurrencies that is pulling a big chunk of newbies into the ecosystem. However, people are now realizing the true potential of this Blockchain Technology and are intelligently implementing it to create new endless possibilities.
At the same time, just like how every REAL coin has 2 sides (literally), even the blockchain technology or for that matter the cryptocurrencies are now causing a matter of grave concern for many people. No, it's not the scams and the serious hacks on the exchanges, but something more fishy that hasn't come out in the public but is digging deep into our pockets. No matter how wicked and unethical it is, the moment I found out its existence, I was awestruck by the beauty of how diverse the blockchain technology can get. So the threat that I am going to talk about is 'Cryptojacking'. Let's get into it.
Proof of work is a well-defined mechanism which is difficult to produce but easy to verify. It is a part of first-generation Blockchain Technology 1.0. In order to verify many cryptocurrencies transactions, proof of work is required that is in turn done by 'mining'. People who mine cryptocurrencies are then rewarded with a fraction of newly generated cryptocurrencies as well.
It has been observed that as the network traffic and usage of coins increases, the output of mining decreases along with a higher need for processing power. And that is the reason why GPUs are being preferred over the normal CPUs. There are indeed some people who own 100s of GPUs in their garage and are making pretty good daily income by mining cryptocurrencies. However, GPUs are not that affordable, they are costly. Also, mining from a single GPU isn't going to benefit them a lot. Proof of work concept needs computation power (a chunk of it and not just 1 GPU). Owning 100s of GPUs needs heavy capital investment. The only way to make a profit through mining without making any heavy investment is by using the technique - Cryptojacking.
- As soon as it starts, it scoops a large portion of your processor's power and makes your device horribly slow. Repeated lags and freezing of your system will be observed.
- Your battery will drain at a much faster rate. Hence, making your electricity consumption more. Who is going to pay for that?
- A repeated and prolonged period of such high-intensity computation task in a device that isn't meant for that can shorten your device's life. Thus making you buy another device, which is likely to face the same fate since you aren't even aware of the REAL PROBLEM, yet.
My Sample Space
- The demo website doesn't receive much traffic and most of the visitors use mobile devices. On a daily account, there are roughly 250 people landing up on the website out of which hardly 20-25 people use computers and laptops.
- It has been found that the script doesn't seem to work on mobile devices but just on computers and laptops. An average Core i3 Processor offers a hashrate of 8-11 hashrate per second.
- A user generally spends around 45-56 seconds on the website.
The network difficulty is getting higher and higher as more number of people are joining the Monero community. However, it still offers the best bet when it comes to mining using the cryptojacking technique.
It is interesting to look at the word 'cryptojacking' through a website owner's eye. The way advertisement industry is taking a hit by the growing popularity of 'adblockers', the only way to sustain the website, it's content creators and hosting charges is by taking an alternate route which happens to offer a good 'reading experience' to its users. No wonder it freezes your screen for a while. Keep reading till then.
However, apart from that, I don't see any other reason close enough to justify such acts of using your user's computing power for your own good.
It's not a big surprise that the industry is bound to change. No matter how big you are, the rules are going to change and people will try to choose the alternate path to survive in the industry. Yes, Google Adsense policies aren't that publisher friendly and neither are the users humble enough to disable their ad blockers. The digital media industry players are not just running in a competition, but are also squabbling among themselves in a fighting pit. In the end, it's all about 'survival of fittest', something that is primarily giving rise to cryptojacking due to market limitations. So the question is - Do they really have a choice? What do you think about it? Let us know about your views in the comment section below.
written by Devashish