Mining for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is typically done by companies that own massive server farms operating outside of the United States. But cybersecurity firm NortonLifeLock is hoping to bring mining to your desktop.
NortonLIfeLock (NLOK) announced Wednesday morning that it is launching a new feature for a select group of early customers of its Norton 360 platform that will allow them to mine for ethereum, the world’s second most valuable cryptocurency, on their personal computers.
“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,” said Vincent Pilette, CEO of NortonLifeLock, in a statement.
NortonLifeLock is the consumer cybersecurity company formerly known as Symantec. The company changed its name after Broadcom (AVGO) bought the enterprise security software business (which focuses on big corporate customers) of Symantec in 2019.
The new feature, dubbed Norton Crypto, will be available only to a small group of customers, but the company said it hopes to expand it to all of its nearly 13 million Norton 360 users in the coming months.
“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 said in answer to questions from CNN.
While the company’s press release did not say whether it was looking to add other top cryptocurrencies, the company said it initially “will be focused on top cryptos that allow our members to get the highest reward for their computing capacity.”
Mining isn’t for the faint of heart
Crypto mining typically has been a dicey endeavor for average consumers. There have been concerns about people having their coins stolen after disabling their security in order to run mining software. Individual miners also run the risk of having ransomware planted on their PCs.
There’s also the more mundane issue of people losing access to their crypto wallets due to lost passwords or hard drive failures.
NortonLifeLock claims to have solved these problems with its Crypto Miner service because it features added security and also stores crypto earnings in a Norton Crypto Wallet that is stored in the cloud as opposed to an individual’s hard drive on their PC.
“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,” said Gagan Singh, chief product officer at NortonLifeLock, in the 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,” Singh added.
Tough times for crypto
The timing of the news comes at a tumultuous time for the world of cryptocurrency investing. Bitcoin, ethereum and other major cryptos suffered their biggest monthly drop in nearly a decade in May.
Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk spooked investors last month when he announced that Tesla (TSLA) would no longer accept bitcoin as payment for its vehicles due to concerns about the environmental impact of bitcoin mining, which tends to require a lot of energy.
NortonLifeLock did not comment about worries regarding crypto mining and the environment.
For his part, Musk softened his stance slightly after crypto bull Michael Saylor, the CEO of software firm MicroStrategy (MSTR) and a major bitcoin investor, arranged a meeting between Musk and executives of top bitcoin mining firms to address energy usage concerns.
Worries about increased regulations on bitcoin from China and the US have also spooked crypto investors lately, however.