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Ask Slashdot: Would You Accept 'Bitcoin-Ware' Apps?

timothy posted about a year ago | from the better-than-nagware dept.

Bitcoin 232

After the E-Sports Entertainment Association admitted to sneaking Bitcoin-mining code into its client software, an anonymous reader writes "I thought that could have been a pretty clever idea, if it was made clear to the users that they could get the app and run it for free as long as, let's say, they accept that it would be run for Bitcoin mining for five hours a week, when their computer is idle. That could make a lot of profit for the developers if their app is truly successful, and without the users having to pay much (only a limited number of hours per week, and if the user is no longer running the app then it won't try to mine anymore). What do you think about this?"

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232 comments

So It's An Indirect Intangible Gamble? (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year ago | (#43613779)

So basically you're proposing a move from just give me a little cash upfront to let me leech off your electricity bill in a ridiculously circuitous way to gamble for BTC (keeping in mind that the more people that adopt your model of "BitCoin-Ware" the more people will be vying for BTC the less your expected value will return)?

An interesting idea and definitely one for the mathematicians but simply unsustainable and risky and ... I guess deceptive if you don't point out the small cost to their electrical bill ...

Re:So It's An Indirect Intangible Gamble? (4, Insightful)

rastilin (752802) | about a year ago | (#43613923)

And yet, I much prefer this method to having to watch ads, so long as the thread's priority isn't so high that it interferes with the running of the machine.

Re:So It's An Indirect Intangible Gamble? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614323)

What if this came along with an airtight guarantee? Like: no tracking, snooping, all Facebook/Twitter/G+ buttons turned OFF until you click to activate them, never selling your info, forever, amen. Just mine us Bitcoins... and only while you're on the site.

I'll be honest, I would take that deal over the implicit "pay via getting spied on" internet we have today.

Re:So It's An Indirect Intangible Gamble? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614411)

Forgot to mention (assumed implicit, but never assume): of course this also means ZERO ads.

Why play games? (4, Insightful)

default luser (529332) | about a year ago | (#43614417)

And yet, I much prefer this method to having to watch ads, so long as the thread's priority isn't so high that it interferes with the running of the machine.

If you're going to drop cash, why do it indirectly through your electric bill? Just drop the app a buck or two!

Re:Why play games? (4, Insightful)

schizz69 (1239560) | about a year ago | (#43614523)

Because this way kids can get paid for apps with out having to steal their parents credit cards, they just make them pay indirectly through their power bills. Genius!.

Re:Why play games? (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#43614565)

Because I hate having to go downstairs to get my wallet every time something needs my credit card number. And I hate giving out my credit card number every time I want to buy something new.

Re:Why play games? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year ago | (#43614715)

The vast majority of sites take payment through 3rd parties these days. Paypal is the 500lb gorilla but Google and Amazon both have payment services that are widely accepted. With any of them you payment information is and a username/password away and not exposed to the place you are buying from.

Re:Why play games? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#43614721)

Because I hate having to go downstairs to get my wallet every time something needs my credit card number.

You don't have the numbers memorized? Wow. You must not make many puchases on-line.

Re:So It's An Indirect Intangible Gamble? (3, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | about a year ago | (#43614563)

So basically you're proposing a move from just give me a little cash upfront to let me leech off your electricity bill in a ridiculously circuitous way to gamble for BTC (keeping in mind that the more people that adopt your model of "BitCoin-Ware" the more people will be vying for BTC the less your expected value will return)?

An interesting idea and definitely one for the mathematicians but simply unsustainable and risky and ... I guess deceptive if you don't point out the small cost to their electrical bill ...

Right it's zero sum. pay for it up front or pay for it on the electric bill. It only makes sense when either
1) there's a scam to be had (e.g. the landlord or company is paying your utility bill)
2) you can use the heat the electricy is producing for some purpose you needed anyway. That is to say if your computer is sitting next to a space heater then you might as well turn off the space heater and turn on the bit coin engine.
3) you want to donate your cycles to charity and the charity would be better off with the cycles than a cash donation. (e.g the charity is doing some big calaculation but doesn't want to bother with the hassle of buying and maintaining or admining rented servers.)

What a joke (2, Insightful)

mknewman (557587) | about a year ago | (#43613783)

I can't believe /. approved this. Truly, you have to be kidding. If I'm going to mine it'd be for myself.

Re:What a joke (3)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year ago | (#43614291)

I've considered making a game where in the background it operated a bitcoin mining operation for myself like a zombie botnet. I'm sure the idea isn't original at all.

Re:What a joke (2, Funny)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about a year ago | (#43614645)

I've considered making a game where in the background it operated a bitcoin mining operation for myself like a zombie botnet. I'm sure the idea isn't original at all.

If you'd read the article, you'd have noticed that ESEA beat you to that idea.

Funny that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43613793)

I don't mind. Assuming the program is That Good that I wouldn't find an alternative, it's not like I would allow it network connectivity anyway.

Electricity costs money. (1)

Karganeth (1017580) | about a year ago | (#43613801)

Mining isn't free - the cost of mining is actually less than the cost of electricity on normal desktop machines (otherwise everyone would be doing it already).

Re:Electricity costs money. (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#43613843)

Mining isn't free - the cost of mining is actually less than the cost of electricity on normal desktop machines (otherwise everyone would be doing it already).

As most people probably figured out, in this case less is more.

Re:Electricity costs money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43613997)

The cost of electricity is often more than the return on mining on standard PC hardware, and that's just going to get worse as more ASIC's come online. Bitcoin Mining is a game for specialized rigs going forward. Best bet for high return mining these days is an ASIC rig tied into your own solar or wind. Big capital costs there though.

Re:Electricity costs money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614163)

Bitcoin is a joke. It's this highly volatile, hackable, stealable, intangible form of internet trade value that anyone proposing this, isn't smart enough to do it.

Here's what would really happen
Developer A makes an app that does Bitcoin mining in the background while the app is in use
Customer A notices that their CPU seems to be pegged at 100% whenever the app is in use, and the system slows down and becomes unstable (O/C'ers), Customer A complains that Developer A's software is a piece of crap and gives it only 1 star rating on where they bought/downloaded it.
Customer B is completely ignorant about their CPU being pegged at 100% and eventually their laptop's cooling fails and the repair person says that Developer A's software is to blame.
Customer C complains that their battery life goes from 8 hours to 10 minutes when the app is installed.

The scenarios where things can go wrong go on and on. The only case where a bitcoin app can be run safely is if the code is part of the game, when it's a game.

For example, if the player has a overpowered GPU (like whatever is top of the line) and the software is paused/loading/waiting-in-the-lobby the unused CPU/GPU time could be put towards the bitcoin mining application, but must be unloaded when the game is resumed. The user of the game will only see a constant power use profile.

But bitcoin itself is wasteful for this. As others have pointed out, the ASIC's will come out and it will be a race to the bottom.

Re:Electricity costs money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614453)

There is also the fact that it is only a matter of time before bitcoin mining will be a common part of any botnet client, just as a keylogger, spam and DDoS module is today.

Eventually when someone mentions a background mining utility, it will be lumped into the other malware, just as Bonzi Buddy was added, even though it was legitimately installed.

Re:Electricity costs money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614049)

No shit, that is the point.
The thing is a paid-for system. Mining bitcoins as payment WOULD be the payment.

It is paying for a service using something that could collapse in value, in which case you just got a product / service for cheap/
Bitcoins are unlikely to go any higher from now on, people will sooner take up other crypto-currencies to cash in.

Sorry, no. (3, Interesting)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#43613813)

I have only so much extra CPU and GP power and I donate all of it to cancer research, so I don't have any left to give to parasites.

Re:Sorry, no. (5, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#43614071)

Are you sure I can't change your mind [worldcommunitygrid.org]? Malaria kills far more people per year than cancer, and the grid computing project has far fewer participants. It's also a technically simpler problem they're trying to tackle, meaning your compute time will have significantly higher value in the long run.

(Incoming whooshes in five, four, three...)

Re:Sorry, no. (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43614159)

But malaria affects people on other continents. Don't you know ethics only applies when you can see other people suffer personally? And it stops mattering entirely if you put on a business suit first.

Re:Sorry, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614171)

My home WCG account is processing both Malaria and Cancer research, but only the Cancer tasks make use of my GPU at this point. Would be nice to see more of the WCG projects taking advantage of GPGPU capacity out there.

Re:Sorry, no. (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#43614349)

I donate all of it to cancer research, so I don't have any left to give to parasites.

Malaria kills far more people per year than cancer

Bad joke! Bad! To bed without supper for you, Sam :-)

Re:Sorry, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614729)

Are you sure I can't change your mind [worldcommunitygrid.org]? Malaria kills far more people per year than cancer, and the grid computing project has far fewer participants. It's also a technically simpler problem they're trying to tackle, meaning your compute time will have significantly higher value in the long run.

(Incoming whooshes in five, four, three...)

Malaria is perceived to be a lot less scary because it can be stop-gapped with enough mosquito nets and quinine pills.

Short answer: No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43613829)

I don't like strangers using my computer.

Depends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43613845)

Maybe, if it were 100% clear (and not an obscure section hidden deep in the EULA). I think a better option would be an opt-in. Certainly less effective, but less prone to generate bad will.

ASIC will make it pointless (1)

MatthewNewberg (519685) | about a year ago | (#43613849)

The new ASIC miners coming out will make GPU mining pointless, CPU mining already is. http://www.butterflylabs.com/ [butterflylabs.com]

Re:ASIC will make it pointless (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | about a year ago | (#43613915)

It is only pointless if you are the one investing in and running CPUs and GPUs to do the mining. He isn't. Instead he is costing the users more than he is going to receive, but that is still more than nothing.

Re:ASIC will make it pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614051)

This reminds me of stock tips. If those things generate more revenue than they cost, why is anyone selling them instead of using them for profit? Kindness? That's what my dad always said when I told him to ignore stock tips.

Re:ASIC will make it pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614201)

If those things generate more revenue than they cost, why is anyone selling them instead of using them for profit?

Because not every General Store owner wants to move to California and mine for gold... but they'll be happy to sell you a pick and shovel.

Re:ASIC will make it pointless (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about a year ago | (#43614353)

For the same reason mutual funds and hedge funds exist (spare me the anti-rich-people jokes, please). If I know how to get a good return on invested money, I can either invest my small pool of money and make x% on that, or offer the service of knowing how to get a good return on invested money and get a smaller % of a potentially MUCH larger pool of money. This works out to a lot more dollars per year for me and for you, assuming my skills are genuine. If they're not, then I'm deluding myself (and you) or I'm a fraud. Telling the difference between those possibilities is often hard.

Re:ASIC will make it pointless (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#43614643)

Risk. That's how finance works: It's largely risk management. Going into the mining business is a risk: You might spend tens of thousands of dollars on an ASIC mining setup, only to see the value of bitcoins collapse suddenly (random fluctuations, another exchange DDoS causing a loss of confidence, a major government declaring bitcoin transfers a form of tax evasion). Then you're left with a lot of very expensive yet useless hardware. Alternatively, you could sell the hardware immediately: You may make less money, but if the bitcoin market collapses someone else ends up ruined.

Re:ASIC will make it pointless (1)

len12345 (1410275) | about a year ago | (#43614329)

ASIC miners have been promised for months and only a few have ever actually shipped. butterflylabs has an unknown number of preorders dating back over a year.

Mining support instead of ad or other (2)

dtdmrr (1136777) | about a year ago | (#43613877)

Perhaps the question should be whether or not consumers would be willing to pay for an application through mining for the developer. I could see that as preferrable to in-app charges or advertisement and various other sneaky ways game devs have tried to hide the way the real ammount they want consumers to pay for things.

Re:Mining support instead of ad or other (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about a year ago | (#43614129)

Exactly. Perhaps even it could be used by F2P model games ("Enable our bitcoin miner tool and we will credit you for in-game purchases periodically!") as an alternative to paying in cash.

Re:Mining support instead of ad or other (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43614767)

Exactly. Perhaps even it could be used by F2P model games ("Enable our bitcoin miner tool and we will credit you for in-game purchases periodically!") as an alternative to paying in cash.

You know, if it was an equal exchange (in-game credit equal to cash value of Bitcoins mined), I might actually go for it.

However, considering the track record of various "reward points" programs, I'm going to guess it won't be an even exchange. Never is.

NEVER (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43613881)

I would never be comfortable with this.

One of the reasons I prefer Linux and open source software is that I can be reasonably confident that the stuff I install with my distribution's package manager won't ever do shit like this.

In devs interest to make errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43613887)

"By signing this you agree to let us mine for 10 hours a week" -- some app.

Fast forward a million downloads later: "Small typo in our code that had you mine 100 hours a week. We are dilligently working to resolve this issue and expect a fix some point soon*."

*soon: http://www.wowwiki.com/Soon

Re:In devs interest to make errors (1)

pmikell (578334) | about a year ago | (#43614145)

And what law entitles the makers of the app to ownership of bitcoins yielded by mining in excess of what the user agreed to?

Re:In devs interest to make errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614203)

Um, the current law. Mining beyond what was agreed to without the user's permission is clearly fraud.

How much control people have (1)

BlindMaster (2262842) | about a year ago | (#43613891)

I guess it depends on how much control people have.
There are software to help calculate scientific researches, and some people wouldn't mind. If the code can be alternate or save personal preferences, maybe some people can help spreading the P2P service (more than Bitcoin). Future of the Cloud?

No. (3, Insightful)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year ago | (#43613893)

No. If you want to make money (in whatever currency) for your programs, then charge money for your programs --- don't be a douchebag who preys on customers' vulnerability to not accurately counting hidden costs of your schemes. You think your customers would benefit from using their computer time to mine Bitcoin? Then provide them with a handy bitcoin-mining app that they can control, and accept bitcoins as payment for your products.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614481)

Thought I can make things a bit more clear: all the affected users are paying customers. You can only use their client if you're subscribing to their service. ESEA charges a monthly subscription fee around 7 usd so players can play leagues/pick-up games on their 128 tick servers which is superior than Valve's own crappy 64 tick servers. Currnetly ESEA has monopoly in this server renting business, hence the arrogancy

Re:No. (3, Informative)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year ago | (#43614623)

I'm not sure quite what you're trying to clarify here? If you want to make more money than you currently charge, then charge more than you currently charge. A scheme like the bitcoin mining plan is just an underhanded way to (probably grossly inefficiently) suck money from your customers' inability to calculate the actual costs of the "free" deal. As noted in SharpFang's post below, most customers running on normal hardware will probably be mining bitcoin at a steep loss --- paying much more in energy, both for the computer and air conditioning to remove the excess heat --- than the bitcoins are even worth. Trying to scrape a bit of extra profit with large hidden costs to the customer might be a successful marketing plan, but you're an asshole for doing it. Just be up-front about what you charge; and, if you honestly think your customers would benefit from some better use of their computer's idle time, then give them separate tools to allow them to make that choice for themselves (educated with all the necessary information) --- don't make those choices for them just to pad your bottom line.

We will run your battery down in 30 minutes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43613905)

...in exchange for a string that alternates between theoretically-worth-something and worthless. Yeah, no thanks.

"They" have patented the idea already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43613937)

Bank it

How is this going to work ? (2)

nomad63 (686331) | about a year ago | (#43613941)

I have core i7 laptop w/o a gpu capable of mining nbitcoins and still am not able to mine anything for myself. how is this app going to figure out what I am running and mine bitcoins ? On the other hand, if I am capable of mining bitcoins on my own (i.e. just for the cost of electricity and an app developer is asking me 0.01 bitcoins for a mundane app, I wouldn't think as much as I think spending my hard earned $2 real money for that app. Same idea with pay pal. I get incentives for completing some surveys of real value to me (not survey farms) in the order of few dollars a month. And I can spend that money with less worry, knowing it didn't cost me anything other than few minutes of my spare time to get it.
So the premise is exciting but mechanics of it is still a bit unclear to me.

Sure why not (1)

Kreegalor (2751567) | about a year ago | (#43613945)

Why would I let a company use my hardware and electricity to mine for BitCoins and not get anything of out? They sure as hell won't drop the price of the software, nor will I get some sort of kickback that is worth anything. If there is no incentive in it for me to get a part of the profit, then why should I?

creative way to monetize an application (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43613963)

I think it's a very creative way to monetize an application, and I think many users would prefer this to paying a one time up front fee for an application.

Of course, it would have to be made perfectly clear that the application will do this. If it's pushed onto customer's computers like internet toolbars commonly are, that would be a serious issue. Also, the bitcoin part would need to be totally removed during uninstall, obviously.

Probably not (3, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year ago | (#43613967)

First, how effective will the users' computers be at mining? The ESEA one worked because their users were hardcore gamers, who are more likely to have powerful GPUs which can mine effectively. You're planning an "app", which implies "smartphone app", which is not going to have nearly enough power to get *any* amount of money. Even with just standard desktops, you're unlikely to get anything. A lot of people *with* powerful GPUs are getting out of the game, because ASICs are making them less effective.

Second, lets look at the effects. A computer mining Bitcoins is *loud*. It's running under full load, and the fans are pretty much pegged at 80-100%. And they also spit out a lot of heat. And so on. I wouldn't like my computer running like that.

Third, how are you going to explain that to users? If they're smart enough to understand Bitcoin, they'll already either be mining, or have decided that they don't want to mine. Your app won't change their mind. As for the other 99% of humanity, how are you going to tell them "you can run this app for free, but for 5hr a week we take over your computer to do stuff" without them calling the FBI? I'm exaggerating, of course, but you are going to have trouble convincing regular users to do this.

Wouldn't mine enough BTC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43613973)

First, with mining having matured and ASICs appearing, an ordinary desktop or laptop really wouldn't do that much. Second, how would you deal with equality? Five hours of mining per client would have very different yields if the PC was a gaming machine with a new 7950 vs a netbook with an Atom.

It's a cool idea, but I suspect that most people with normal computers would be better served just paying for the software. Of course, if your target audience is high school kids living with their parents or other people who don't pay their own electric bills, you might be on to something.

Ads aren't as profitable (2)

earlzdotnet (2788729) | about a year ago | (#43613977)

Rather you like it or not, this may be where we are going. With the advent of ad blockers and general desensitization to ads by the constant bombardment of horrible ones, ads aren't all that profitable anymore... unless they're extremely well targeted, which is an issue by itself.

That being said, assuming that it's only mining when I'm actively engaged in the application(to not waste excessive amounts of electricity), I'd approve of this as a replacement to ads. The only downside in comparison to ads is using more power(ie, less battery life in mobile).

Also, this is assuming we have smart and pleasant miners that don't peg CPU/GPU to 100% and cause my computer to crawl, but rather target 80% or less resource utilization. And, of course, not mining in the background. Only mining when I'm actively engaging with the application.

It's been tried (1)

Urd.Yggdrasil (1127899) | about a year ago | (#43613979)

There was a company that already tried to do this with games, they got some VC money and then ran into the dirt. At this point the vast majority of user hardware is all but useless for mining. This would have worked a couple of years ago, but not now.

Two-part question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43613985)

1. Would you accept bitcoin-ware?
No. Battery life would degrade horribly, and my electric bill would go up.

2. Would you accept apps?
Hell no, apps have no useful functionality at all, and are usually just frontends to websites. I only use real programs.

Terrible idea. (5, Informative)

SharpFang (651121) | about a year ago | (#43613989)

Most users would be mining on CPU power, and that means very poor chance to get any results while wasting enormous amounts of electricity.

You should look at the Mining hardware comparison [bitcoin.it]. Summarizing: Best Xeon setups get 66Mhash/s and most common desktop setups go 1-10Mhash/s

Meanwhile, FPGA mining devices reach 1000-10,000Mhash/s and ASIC ones get order of 10,000-60,000 at powers like 600W.

Now to get power comparable to a single ASIC rig you'd need roughly 1000 customers running 24/7 or 33,000 customers running 5h a week.

33,000 CPUs running at full power, zero energy saving, to produce results comparable with a 600W appliance. This is to stay moderately competetive and get *some* ROI.

While the cost is distributed between the customers, the real cost - the amount of energy wasted - is staggering.

Re:Terrible idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614497)

This is the only good counter to the idea since it is otherwise a novel approach (uh oh, the "n" word means it might be patentable).

It is possible that the app could include the miner in OpenCL (since it is going to be unrelated to the core app, anyway) so you at least get GPU mining but it is still nowhere near a good enough yield for the energy when compared to the new ASICs which are already coming into active deployment.

Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43613993)

I agree with this concept. It also opens a door to other cloud based processes like protein folding and like minded scientific issues. Now I know this is a profit based idea, but the fact some people will be up for free entertainment while contributing back to humanity makes me think this model will make waves.

idiotic (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#43613999)

Just in case you missed this in other posts
My i5-2400 = 12 MH/s bitcoin mining speed @ 95W approx
My old overclocked Radeon 5830 graphics card = 220MH/s @ 200W approx
The new Jalapeno ASIC miner = 4,500+ MH/s @ 2W

The anticipated difficulty raising on mining due to the new cards is estimated at at least 27x so that means you could run the app 24/7 and likely make less than $0.01/day on the average computer while using a hell of a lot more than that in electricity (closer to $0.50 typically).

Sneaking it in? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#43614009)

Define "sneaking it in". If that means not mentioning it at all, then fuck off. In fact, wouldn't that constitute (I forget the exact wording) unauthorized use of a computing resource, which is a felony?

Absolutely not. (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year ago | (#43614011)

This isn't like the days when ramping up a Pentium 3 to full power meant an extra 20 watts. These days, the difference between idle and balls-out on my gaming rig is hundreds of watts. Eventually, the AC will kick in to keep the room comfortable. Even at idle, it's a pig. I don't run that thing unless I'm playing games. Or if it's a cold night and I want the waste heat to warm the room.

Theft of services (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614015)

E-Sports Entertainment Association

So, when will the department of justice be driving these guys to suicide?

Re:Theft of services (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614125)

we're talking about innovative JERB CREATORS here, not lazy radical freetards!

Maybe... (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year ago | (#43614017)

But then again, I'm a "freetard", and I don't pay for software generally anyway. (Though I did spend $20 on a game the other week, and got a good deal I think, no DRM, no hassle.)

Here's the thing, if it's made very very clear, that part of the 'price' for having the app was the it would do a little mining on the side, then it's possible. But, it'd better be an exceptional app. Considering I have never bought productivity software (Linux, Star/Open/LibreOffice, GIMP, and many others) I'm probably not about to start now. If your app is just another game, I'll probably never pay for it, let alone play it. I generally don't play games. (The game I did buy the other week was from Spiderweb Software, who do produce rather good games, that I've played without paying for before, so I thought I should pay for this one.)

Here's the other thing, my computer doesn't have a GPU (I can mine bitcoins at around 4M hashes/second), you'll not make much off me. And, if I wanted to be generally annoying, I could just limit your program, so that you never get any CPU time (unless I actually want to use it).

A better idea: either go Free (or free, if you must) or go shareware/demoware. But tricks like this, it won't work.

Re:Maybe... (2)

N1AK (864906) | about a year ago | (#43614121)

I'm a "freetard", and I don't pay for software generally anyway

better idea: either go Free (or free, if you must)

Yeah that's definitely going to work out well for the developer :p

Absolutely not (0)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#43614031)

That business plan stinks, and you have no ethics what so ever for bringing it up. Is it ok to steal from someone if you say please and thank you? The only reason people would let you do this in the first place is because they are ignorant of both the costs (in terms of wear and tear on processors and equipment, and electricity) and the gains (most people have never heard of bitcoin). Inform them of either, and people will want to be a) paid for their expenses and b) given no small portion of the profits. So your "business" model is merely the exploitation of people's ignorance. While that's perfect for religion or politics, it's not something you'll be able to build a solid business on.

Re:Absolutely not (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614423)

It's not stealing if you ask and they say "yes". That's called a business agreement.

Hell no (1)

Pope (17780) | about a year ago | (#43614053)

BitCoin is a nice geek idea, and like all nice geek ideas, fails incredibly in actual practice.

Theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614059)

The april fools "joke" this refers to is clearly theft computer resources, and it should be prosecuted as such.

Definitively no. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#43614073)

It would certainly be cheaper for me to pay you the money you'd be making from that mining than paying my electricity provider more than you make from that mining. I don't feel like subsidizing my electricity provider.

All that's of course assuming your program is worth the cost to me.

Not worth it (1)

N1AK (864906) | about a year ago | (#43614089)

It's not a stupid idea, even if a lot of commentators on here can't see past their hatred of anyone requiring anything from them. It has been shown time and again that people don't like paying, even pennies, up front for something but are happy to hand over things worth far more (personal information, viewing time etc) after they have become users. Even though theoretically it would cost them more to provide computing time for bitcoins than just pay you there are many people who won't pay but wouldn't care about compute time (electric costs etc) and no personal details would need to be exchanged.

All that said, it just isn't worth it. The amount you can mine would be comparatively limited and is getting lower as mining kit becomes more advanced; additionally you'd have to handle any issues this causes for users, have people claiming you're stealing and bad press (like here) and the value will continue to fall. Additionally as phones and tablets become more popular the average resources available to mine with have shrunk as well.

Re:Not worth it (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#43614759)

"people don't like paying, even pennies, up front for something but are happy to hand over things worth far more (personal information, viewing time etc) after they have become users."

So what you need is some sort of time-limited mode? Let the user run the software for free for a time, a month or so, then disable some or all functionality until payment is made.

Back in a moment, the nineties are calling.

Fail (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#43614155)

Why would I run their app while my computer is idle? Why would I not turn it off, hibernate it or put it in standby?
Why would I want them to burn through 1kWh per week of my power bill? (assuming 200W at 100% CPU/GPU for 5 hours) That's about $15 per year.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614223)

I wouldn't want to be associated with that scam

Strange idea (1)

Takatata (2864109) | about a year ago | (#43614249)

If you want bitcoins I suppose it would be much more efficient to ask your users to pay you in bitcoins for your app. If your app is widely spread enough and good enough, and even if only one percent of your users pay, it would most likely be much more than what you could mine.

WEED AND B'COINS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614279)

MORE BITCOIN STORIES
MORE MARIJUANA STORIES

We need MORE articles on marijuana and bitcoins and drugs. How about two stories a day instead of the current one story a day?

Let me think about this ... nope. (2)

PhxBlue (562201) | about a year ago | (#43614317)

What do you think about this?

I'm going to go with "Hell no, with a side of fuck you."

Oh for Christ's sake (1)

Pluvius (734915) | about a year ago | (#43614415)

Stop it with the Bitcoin articles. We're not interested in your Ponzi scheme.

Rob

Re:Oh for Christ's sake (4, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#43614847)

Get your schemes right. This is no Ponzi scheme.

At most it's a pump-and-dump.
1. Invest in something (goods, shares, bitcoins)
2. Spread hype or outright lies to cause the price to rise (eg, claim the company you just bought stock in got a massive contract)
3. Sell at the inflated price, and do so quickly before people realise the misinformation.

Oh you mean like the Digsby Research module? (1)

mrbene (1380531) | about a year ago | (#43614473)

In 2008, there was a bit of a stink raised when chat client Digsby implemented a "Research Module" that used local CPU resources while the machine was not active. Their blog post [digsby.com] announcing the fact was in 2008, and I'm not sure that they ever removed this functionality.

It was reason enough for me to force anyone I knew to uninstall the tool - I'm not keen on subscriptions, especially fluctuating cost ones.

Good idea - if done moderately (1)

Angrywhiteshoes (2440876) | about a year ago | (#43614477)

It could be a good source of revenue as along as the author is up front about it to the users and the users agree to it. It could be used as a means of donation to projects.

Maybe they could calculate how many shares to submit per month given a certain PPS or PPLNS rate on a pool and crank those out one night then be good to go the rest of the month. It doesn't occur to me that this type of thing has to be a "burn up your computer to make someone some money."

Better than Ads, worse than litecoin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614519)

Its better than ads, but still not ok. In app ads waste more bandwidth than bitcoin mining would, but the payoff for the CPU use is pretty bad. CPUs suck at bitcoin mining (compared to GPUs and ASICs). litecoin would make more more sense in this context, since its tuned for CPU mining (though GPUs still win), but still no.

Now, if you accept donations in bitcoins, I might send some over. Its cheaper with my hardware to buy them than to mine them.

Necessarily Inefficient Transaction (probably) (3, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | about a year ago | (#43614569)

GPUs are no longer cost efficient for mining bitcoins, in terms of marginal electricity cost(1). Therefore, it cannot be cost efficient for a person to run the bitcoin mining software on their home machine. Given that it cannot be a cost efficient use of the user's electricity, it is not possible for the user to be engaging in an informed, consensual transaction(2)(3). Transactions without informed consent are market distortions, reduce GDP in the long run, and are not ethical.

1. That may not be strictly true, right now, with the sudden rise in bitcoin price and the lag in bringing new specialized hardware online, but any such brief market distortin resulting in cost efficiency will be optimized away quickly.

2. Except for the possibility that the transaction cost of the user directly paying the software provider is enough to make it inefficient to pay directly, but still efficient to pay for more electricity (a transaction that is already happening, so the transaction cost is sunk) and give the discounted proceeds to the software provider.

3. Or if the user also gets satisfaction from the very act of running the bitcoin mining client, because he or she believes it is worth the personal cost for the social good of helping to process bitcoin transactions.

Bitcoin User Agreement? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#43614581)

What if I "accept" this extra little dose of malware that will mine bitcoins for the company whose service I use and then use some other software or technique to block my computer from mining bitcoins? Will I have to promise to keep my machine running during off-hours? Will I have to deliver a certain level of bitcoin mining service?

Will this become the new model for consumer purchases? When you buy some good or service, will you now work for the company who sold it to you?

I've tried to think of some way our current top down, corporatist system could become more odious, and we may have found it.

Nobody will 'willingly/knowingly' (1)

Timmy D Programmer (704067) | about a year ago | (#43614649)

it will be 'installed' just like every other virus/malware with small print in the user agreement that your computer becomes crap after agreeing to install this program.

Power company (1)

linear a (584575) | about a year ago | (#43614719)

Evidently, upon reading the above, Bitcoins were created by the power company since they profit the most from the whole process.

Bitcoin (1, Interesting)

hackus (159037) | about a year ago | (#43614815)

I am not sure I like the idea of money "just appearing" in ones pocket because you happen to have more computing power than anyone else to mine bit coins.

Pray tell, just who currently does that happen to be?

NSA
CIA
Pentagon
Wall Street
Federal Reserve

All of the above have the most computing power for bitcoin mining.

No thanks to Bitcoin.

The entire idea of a currency is that it is suppose to be the holder of intrinsic value, and cannot be meddled with by any single entity to gain an advantage in trade.

Historically, that means Gold and Silver, contrary to what your government tells you, Gold and Silver are the only real money of historic note.

Here are some ways to get more silver and gold:

1) Mine for it.
2) Destroy whole countries and take it.
3) Tax the people into starvation.

***4) Actually perform real work and be productive and trade it for goods and services.

Banks hate all 4, especially 4 because healthy economies mean fewer people have to borrow and they would much rather do 2 because afterwards countries go into debt to rebuild but the risk is, you could end up getting your head chopped off.

As everyone here knows, bankers do not like risk, and want the sure thing.

So today, bankers like fiat currency. They love it. They can enter a number in a computer, and do absolutely no work for any of the money because the society which uses it must accept it to live and work.

So with today's fiat currencies, bankers have access to vast armies of slaves. This only works of course, if everyone doesn't see the man behind the curtain, printing money like mad for himself and his cronies. Today, that mostly means politicians and technocrats.

You can see this happening in Europe right now, as countries are falling into a economic dictatorship with whole societies collapsing and the bankers ripping off people in broad daylight.

So far, people over there seem to be OK with it in Greece and Cyprus. So, expect the bankers to move on to other countries and do the same.

But besides this mischief, I think people just want a currency which is fair, and that is not a fiat currency where elite people can just print money and live a life of luxury.

So alternative currencies are being explored.

Gold and Silver though, is very hard to manipulate. It can be done, but it is very hard to do and maintain control over it as you can't print it and its value cannot be made equal to zero....

Unless of course everyone is dead and with the way these bankers are out of control, it may very well come to that if the Federal Reserve and its cronies at the IMF, IBofS are not stopped.

I mean we have France invading Mali right now because Germany wants it Gold back. I don't mean a gold coin, I mean, France owes Germany TONS and TONS and TONS of Gold.

-Hack

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