The new data mining software promises that almost anyone will earn small amounts of bitcoins with a Windows laptop, giving users a taste of the early days of cryptocurrency.
Unveiled exclusively for CoinDesk, the New Jersey encryption startup, Honeyminer has quietly launched a free beta version in June and has already collected 10,000 downloads worldwide. Honeyminer allows users to participate in a dynamic mining pool by running the app when the computer's graphics processing unit (GPU) is not in use for image or video processing.
The pool focuses on the mining of crypts such as ethereum, ethereum classic, zcash, monero and other GPU-compatible currencies. Then, at the end of the session, Honeyminer sends the participant's earnings, converted into bitcoins, directly to the user's portfolio.
"The miner does not have to make mathematical calculations or manage all configurations and settings, or manually control prices," advisor Honeyminer Noah Jessop, a venture capitalist at the San Francisco Founder Collective, told CoinDesk.
"We make any excess calculation, so any laptop that you do not use up to a rig automatically performs the most profitable calculation."
This type of service offers new opportunities for people who want to acquire bitcoins but have little money to invest or limited access to the cryptocurrency trade. It could also expand the range of participants in the extraction of cryptocurrencies, which over the years has had its barriers to entry as expensive, the specialized hardware has given to large and professional operations a advantage on hobbyists.
The Honeyminer algorithm automatically switches from cryptocurrency approximately every 10 minutes, depending on the size of the block, if there is a sudden change in the profitability of the currency mining activity.
"We are joining people together to find these lockouts faster, together we have a bigger hashrate," Honeyminer co-founder Larry Kom told CoinDesk. "Not only do we connect to the blockchain and we make you anonymous through us, but you also contribute to what is, in essence, a pool".
Actually, this is not the most profitable way to extract cryptocurrency, given the broader market volatility compared to bitcoin and Honeyminer cutting, ranging from 2.5 to 8 percent depending on the quality of the User hardware. Someone with a few high-end GPUs could expect to earn bitcoins worth a dollar or two from running the software almost all day.
However, it could be one of the easiest methods to date. Although the company has refused to specify how many users are in countries where access to cryptocurrency is limited, such as Jordan or Venezuela, it is said that over 18% of users come from developing countries.
"If you hear about crypts and you want to learn, you can either go out and pay real money in cash," Jessop said. "Or you can download a program in 30 seconds and start earning your cryptography for free."
Honeyminer's software was, in part, inspired by the controversies surrounding bitcoin mining. That is to say, the way many software users feel China's hardware vendor, Bitmain, has achieved a near-monopoly on mining equipment and how a small number of companies control most of the mining basins.
"As we saw in proper bitcoin, the arms race intensifies on this custom hardware and therefore the people who have access to the best silicon boards are the people who control the mining," said Jessop. "For us, it's about increasing the number of people who have access to the best in the class."
But according to David Vorick, CEO of Nebulous, who runs Siacoin and the mining equipment manufacturer Obelisk, this may not change the ecosystem in general as well as attracting more curious newcomers. Above all because the software is closed source, even if with plans to extend open API in the future.
"This increases centralization, because everything you've done has shifted power from mining pools or from users who need to be advanced to software toolkits," he told CoinDesk. "Basically all the power lies with the software developers."
Elaborating on this point, Vorick said he believes the GPU's extraction will disappear almost entirely in the next two years, independently. He added:
"We will see ASIC for general purposes [mining hardware] released that is able to address many algorithms. As soon as this happens, the role played by GPUs is about to disappear. "
For better or for worse, the Honeyminer team recognizes that it will have to offer additional features for different types of users.
For beginner retail investors, Honeyminer will soon allow them to send their bitcoins to their wallets on third-party platforms like Coinbase. Furthermore, the application algorithm can also help miners with professional mining drilling rigs.
Whether it's low-cost laptops or "pro" devices, each computer will look different [task]based on your particular performance or ability, you will be awarded what is most profitable for it, "Kom said.
A specialized version called Honeyminer Pro is being processed by professional miners who need help with power management and options to manually choose which encryption to use, so they are not limited to what is most profitable, or which coins can be cashed out in case they do not want bitcoins.
Commenting on the lack of easy-to-use tools for novices and experienced miners, Kom said:
"I would say there is no clear competitor for us, which is why we built what we built".
Image of a honeycomb by Shutterstock