For anyone who's considering dipping a toe into the cryptocurrency craze but is afraid of getting ripped off, antivirus and identity-theft-protection giant NortonLifeLock is offering a possible solution.
Norton Crypto is "a new feature designed to enable consumers to safely and easily mine cryptocurrency through its trusted Norton 360 platform," the company said in a press release (opens in new tab) today (June 2).
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Norton 360, at its core an antivirus program, already offers a password manager, a cloud-backup service, a VPN and, via LifeLock add-ons, an identity-theft-protection service. The Norton Crypto feature will include both a coin miner and a cryptocurrency wallet.
"Customers can track and transfer earnings into their Norton Crypto Wallet, stored in the cloud so it cannot be lost due to hard drive failure," states the press release.
"Select Norton 360 customers in Norton's early adopter program will be invited to mine for Ethereum," beginning tomorrow (June 3), the press release adds. "Norton Crypto is expected to become available to all Norton 360 customers in the coming months."
Can you mine anything besides Ethereum with Norton Crypto?
Ethereum is all well and good, but that cryptocurrency is likely to turn off mining Ether tokens by the end of 2021 as it moves to its new "Ethereum 2.0" platform. So we asked if Norton Crypto might allow it customers to mine other types of tokens.
Gagan Singh, chief product officer at NortonLifeLock, didn't really give us an answer, but did provide us with this statement:
"There is a lot of innovation happening in the crypto economy that we continue to monitor. Initially, NortonLifeLock will be focused on top cryptos that allow our members to get the highest reward for their computing capacity. It is a very dynamic space that is changing every week and we will look at potentially adding other currencies in the future."
So Bitcoin, which has reached the point where it take a huge amount of computing power to mine a single coin, may be out. Dogecoin, anyone?
It does seem a bit weird that an antivirus and identity-theft-protection company would be jumping with both feet into cryptocurrencies. Ethereum is well regarded — several Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft, have a stake in it — but lots of smaller cryptocurrencies are pump-and-dump schemes.
How long will it before Norton or other antivirus companies offer software to mine coins those as well?
"Crypto mining is already a big part of its customers' digital lives, so NortonLifeLock accelerated its pace of innovation to ensure they have a safe and easy way to mine crypto," a NortonLifeLock spokesperson told us.
"While the company will start slow, with a focus on helping customers safely mine Ethereum, NortonLifeLock is considering adding reputable cryptocurrencies in the future."