Cryptocurrency mining was first introduced through Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm, and has since been adopted by hundreds of other cryptocurrencies. Since its inception, miners have primarily supported platforms based on their profitability, following the coins whose miner returns offer the highest returns on investment. However, profitability’s dominance is gradually being replaced by other incentives, as projects look to garner more support by providing other resources to the propagators of their networks.
One of the major shortcomings of most PoW coins and mining clients is the necessity of the miner to sell their block rewards in order to see a profit. Of course, doing so has a number of negative effects, including a persistent sell pressure on the market and lack of loyalty from miners. By offering mining software packaged as a more inclusive product – a “mining ecosystem” – a healthier approach to mining can be realized.
Perhaps the most complete and popular mining ecosystem among cryptocurrencies today is the GShare mining client. GShare is a free client offered by GNation, the team behind GameCredits and MobileGO. GShare is branded as a tool for gamers. The easy-to-use client multi-mines the most profitable cryptocurrencies, and automatically exchanges them for GameCredits (GAME) through market buys. With the accumulated GAME, miners can also use the client as a PC game store, from which they can buy a number of top games with GAME, and usually at a hefty discount.
This system is phenomenal for everyone involved. For GAME supporters, the nature of the miner creates steady buy pressure. For the team, miners and mainstream gamers are exposed to a coin and a project they otherwise would not be. As for users of the client, they can passively earn GAME to purchase new games using their otherwise idle PCs. GShare represents a highly intuitive and simple ecosystem, and as such, it has already seen adoption by thousands of users. These users can earn as much as $200 worth of GAME each month to purchase new titles.
Another example of a mining ecosystem is UNICEF Game Chaingers. Like GShare, this mining client catered to gamers. However, UNICEF’s pilot client instead served as a vehicle for donations. Users of the client could mine Ethereum (ETH) in the background on their PC, and the funds were automatically donated to aid Syrian children. While this client is much more primitive in nature than GNation’s product, it similarly provided something beyond simply profitability to its users. Unfortunately, this client was only a pilot, and it officially closed on March 31 of this year. Hopefully, UNICEF will launch a more permanent client after making additions and applying data from the initial pilot to make it as efficient and easy-to-use as possible.
There are ample reasons for various cryptocurrencies to recruit as many miners and as high a network hashrate as possible, and it’s only logical to suggest that other projects will soon be employing their own take on the mining ecosystem concept in the near future. Additionally, the alleviation of the sell pressure associated with mining is a clear benefit of such initiatives.