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Why is crypto mining so popular and destructive at the same time?

The Big Deal About Cryptocurrency Mining: What's the Big Deal?

People appreciate the convenience of being able to access and use their money in a digital format. Credit cards, debit cards, and services such as PayPal and Venmo make it simple to send money to friends and family and to make purchases from their online stores when paying for things on the internet. Many people today prefer not to deal with the "hassle" of paper money and coin currencies because of the availability of online shopping sites and next-day delivery services in today's world. What is it that drives people to participate in cryptocurrency mining, however, is unclear. Providing a straightforward answer to that question is not as simple as saying "one size fits all." After all, each individual has their own set of requirements, interests, and goals. Only a few of them will be discussed in detail in this section.

People aspire to have greater control over their financial situation.

Individuals hold different levels of confidence in the existing systems. Furthermore, some people would prefer to have greater control over their financial affairs as well as greater privacy in their financial affairs. When it comes to underwear purchases and how much money you spent on that new surround-sound audio system, Uncle Sam doesn't need to know, according to the logic behind it. Money is kept under mattresses or rolled up in old coffee cans in pantry shelves by some people who do not want to be associated with the traditional centralised banking system, which they believe is corrupt. It is possible to mine and use decentralised digital currencies in addition to traditional centralised banking systems in order to keep money out of the traditional banking system. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum, and Monero, among others, offer users the ability to maintain a certain level of confidentiality. Why? As previously discussed, the crypto mining process is considered secure because it makes use of the public key encryption and hashing functions that we discussed earlier.

Everything revolves around money.

By 2025, the global cryptocurrency mining market, according to Coherent Market Insights, is expected to reach a value of more than $38 billion dollars in value., as displayed on a computer monitor. A live feed of the fluctuating value of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency is displayed on the Bitcoin trading dashboard in real time. On the right is a screenshot taken from the Bitcoin trading dashboard, which depicts the changing value of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Furthermore, cryptocurrency mining can be extremely profitable for some individuals, and it is generally regarded as a sound investment opportunity. However, for many users, this is not always the case because mining them necessitates a significant investment of time and resources, with little return on their investment in return. In some cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, you will receive a substantial amount of money if you decide to cash them in. The fact that bitcoins are limited in supply, with a total of 21,000,000 bitcoins available at any given time, is another factor to consider. The number of bitcoins available for mining has already reached 18,512,200 at the time of writing. As well as purchasing and selling Bitcoins, people can also purchase and sell Satoshi, which are fractions of a Bitcoin. There are 100,000,000 Satoshi for every bitcoin in existence.

It's a Brand-New Idea

Honestly, some people are interested in riding the newest technological waves in order to be a part of the experience, which is understandable. It all comes down to the fact that they want to be a part of the next best thing, which is currently being developed. And how many people are involved in crypto mining, and who exactly is involved in crypto mining? According to a press release published on June 23, 2020 by the NetworkNewsWire Editorial Team of PR Newswire, "there are now more than 1,000,000 unique Bitcoin miners," which means that there are more than 1,000,000 Bitcoin miners in total. Consider that this figure is only for people who are specifically mining for Bitcoin!!

Why isn't everyone involved in cryptocurrency mining, if it's so straightforward?

However, while it is understandable that everyone would like to reap the financial benefits of cryptocurrency mining, the fact remains that it is not for everyone.

Cryptocurrency mining consumes a large amount of resources.

In the first place, cryptocurrency mining requires a significant investment of both time and resources, in terms of both computing power and electricity, in order to be profitable today. Why? This is due to the fact that crypto mining requires a significant amount of computing power to generate new guesses on a consistent basis. It is possible that you will be successful in not only generating new Bitcoin, but you will also be able to update the blockchain by adding information to the end of the ledger, which will be beneficial to everyone.

Cryptocurrency mining is still prohibitively expensive.

The financial implications of such a large-scale undertaking must be taken into consideration as well as the availability of sufficient processing power and electricity to power your operation. In the past, it was possible to mine cryptocurrency using nothing more than a personal computer; however, those days are long gone. Having the technology and processing power necessary to compete on an equal footing with the world's best cryptocurrency miners is essential if you want to have even a slight chance of beating the competition to the punch in the cryptocurrency mining industry. This translates into the ability to use more devices while also having access to more affordable electricity.

The Return on Investment is not the same as it was previously.

People have made money by mining cryptocurrencies, and while this is true for some, it is not true for all of those who engage in the practise. As time passes and the number of people who become involved in cryptocurrency grows, the expected return on investment that cryptocurrency miners can expect to receive from their investments decreases. Take, for instance, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as an illustration. A halving event occurs approximately every four years (or every 210,000 blocks mined), and it is referred to as a halving event in the Bitcoin community. As a result of this change, the number of Bitcoins that people receive as a reward for each blockchain block that is mined will be reduced by half. Therefore, when people first began mining Bitcoins in 2009, they received a reward of 50 Bitcoins for each block they mined as a result of this arrangement. According to the most recent halving, which took place on May 11, 2020, the rate has been reduced to 6.25 BTC per block as of that date.

It's possible that your geographical location will prevent you from doing so.

Prior to this, it was stated that while cryptocurrency mining is not prohibited in some jurisdictions, it is not permitted in others. The use of cryptocurrencies for cryptocurrency mining is controversial, as previously stated, and governments around the world have a variety of viewpoints on the subject. Some governments in various geographical locations may outright prohibit the use of cryptocurrencies as payment methods or as a means of accumulating wealth through investment.

It Has the Potential to Be Destructive

In a recent episode of HBO's Silicon Valley, which featured a recurring gag about cryptocurrency mining that made me laugh out loud, I remembered that I had been thinking about the cybersecurity implications of cryptocurrency mining for several weeks. Throughout the episode, a jarring blast from the two-second song "You Suffer" by British extreme metal band Napalm Death can be heard in the background. Throughout the episode, the character Gilfoyle (a gruff, deadpan systems architect) keeps his coworkers on their toes with his deadpan humour. In Gilfoyle's opinion, the alert serves as a warning. If bitcoin price falls below a certain threshold, mining bitcoin becomes inefficient. It will be there when the price of bitcoin rises to the threshold once more." To be able to remotely switch on my home computer when it crosses that threshold, I must first determine when it does. "The price of bitcoin is extremely volatile." Without a doubt, bitcoin mining has become firmly established in the mainstream, and not just for the sake of amusement any longer. A growing number of organisations are becoming less enthusiastic about the prospect of bitcoin mining becoming less entertaining. It is increasingly being used as a source of inspiration for malware and cyberattacks.

When Carrie Kemper, the episode's writer, refers to the episode as "volatile," she is not exaggerating the gravity of the situation. As of the time of this writing, the value of bitcoin was hovering around $230 per coin. In December of last year, it reached a peak of nearly $20,000 per share. After that, it dropped to $7,000 by February of the following year. When bitcoin's value was only a couple hundred dollars, "mining" did not prove to be a financially viable venture. It is necessary to have a fast internet connection, as well as to consume electricity for cooling and power generation. It also depletes available storage space and necessitates the expenditure of time. Bitcoin mining, on the other hand, became profitable as the value of a single bitcoin rose in value. As the value of a bitcoin rose in value, investors began to pour money into the cryptocurrency industry. Add in increased competition and a rapidly diminishing supply of bitcoins, and you have the makings of a growing cybersecurity threat. There are currently approximately 17 million bitcoins in circulation out of a total supply of 21 million bitcoins, which has already been mined. Increasing the number of bitcoins mined makes it more difficult to decrypt and solve the cryptographic hashes that must be solved, increasing the amount of time it takes to complete a transaction. Bitcoin also reduces by half the number of coins awarded to a miner who has completed the task after every 2.1 million blocks, according to Bitcoin. By the end of July 2016, the reward had been cut in half, from 25 to 12.5 coins. When the coins are revalued in May 2020, the value will be reduced to 6.25 coins.

Reduced operating costs are the most effective way to increase profits, as there are fewer bitcoins left and fewer coins awarded for mining as a result of the decrease in bitcoin supply. To be more specific, the amount of electricity required to operate and cool massive banks of servers. Even with a potential payoff of $100,000 per additional block added, the costs are not inconsequential in comparison. Mining a single bitcoin in the United States can cost anywhere from $3,200 in Louisiana to nearly $10,000 in Hawaii, depending on where you live. The cost of electricity varies greatly from one region of the country to another. Malware is used by bitcoin miners to reduce the costs associated with bitcoin mining. On computers ranging from personal to enterprise-level configurations running bitcoin mining software disguised as legitimate programmes, it is possible to install malicious scripts that perform malicious actions. When the Pirate Bay was discovered to be making money, it was shut down. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was fined $250,000 for secretly using the central processing unit (CPU) power of millions of visitors to mine the cryptocurrency monero in 2017. When compared to ad overlays, their alternative made the user experience of accessing pirated content less pleasant than it could have been. This is a problem that affects everyone, not just those who frequent torrent sites. Over 400,000 computers in Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and other countries have recently been infected with bitcoin mining malware, which has been installed on them.

There have been targeted attempts to infect users' computers and even smartphones with malware that is designed to mine various cryptocurrencies on all three social media platforms. The rapid spread of mining malware has been referred to as a "epidemic" and "the new ransomware" by some, but it does not come with the messy and time-consuming complications that come with extortionate demands for ransom. Despite this, bitcoin is not the only issue at hand. Examples include the cryptocurrency monero (currently valued at approximately $300), which, like litecoin and other similar coins, uses an algorithm that is run on standard-performance computers in order to compete against bitcoin. As an alternative to advertising, miners are increasingly employing malware to mine cryptocurrency, which is a bad development. Because of this, the number of services dedicated to providing simple plugins for WordPress and other content management systems is increasing, which may increase the popularity of bitcoin cryptocurrency alternatives such as monero and ethereum in the future. A growing pandemic of botnets and malware is not difficult to imagine, given the greater anonymity provided by many alternative cryptocurrency platforms, as well as the relative ease with which they can be mined when compared to bitcoin. Having a slow-running computer, on the other hand, is not sufficient for cryptocurrency mining operations. One particular type of mining malware is particularly aggressive, and it has the ability to literally melt a smartphone in its path. Mining malware can cause hardware failure and significant increases in energy consumption at the enterprise level. It can also prevent entire systems from performing mission-critical tasks and cause literally thousands of infections on a single network due to the increased CPU loads caused by mining malware. As a first line of defence and a testing ground for malware and cyber threats, which are becoming increasingly widespread, difficult to detect, and technically complex to eliminate manually, it is also a valuable resource.

Because a large proportion of cryptocurrency mining malware is devoid of life, it is extremely difficult to identify and eliminate. Because of this, executives responsible for security should avoid relying on traditional virus protection. Nonetheless, they should direct their organisations to monitor for signs of infection on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week. Among the symptoms that users are experiencing are spikes in CPU and graphics processing unit (GPU) usage. Other symptoms include dramatic system slowdowns and even overheating of their computers. In terms of a long-term solution, this is more of a bandage than anything else. Modern attacks (for which registration is required) now monitor CPU usage and limit the amount of processing power stolen to less than 50% of the total to avoid being detected by anti-virus software. Although having a well-informed user base is critical in cybersecurity, having a strategic plan for preventing these attacks will benefit an organisation far more than one that only discovers them after they have occurred. Instead of delaying implementation until later, it is preferable to implement the plan as soon as possible. Even when you take into account the continued growth of mining malware targeting Bitcoin alone — as well as the fact that there are more than 1500 different cryptocurrencies, with new ones appearing on a daily basis — the picture becomes crystal clear. Each of these components could be used to construct a different type of malware. This means that topics that are currently used for lighthearted amusement could quickly evolve into the catalyst for much more sophisticated attacks with significantly higher levels of malicious intent.