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Strongly inspired by the SETI program, I was considering putting together a mining client that mines when a computer switches to screensaver. I know this would cost some PGU when the computer takes a nap, and would kind of defeat the purpose.

But would such a product be of interest to the bitcoin crowd ?

Would people be interested in a piece of software like this ?

I understand that serious miners would not be interested in this, but maybe, just maybe, the whole BitCoin thing would be easier to explain to some, if there was a piece of software that resembled the SETI program (which many people know or remember.)

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I'd definately be interested in that. – Ian Purton Jan 9 '12 at 15:11
+1 to show support :P 10 upvotes and I'll get coding. – Nils Munch Jan 9 '12 at 15:34
I fear you would get barely enough bitcoins to make your effort worth it, let alone get enough to redistribute to the users... that said, it can be nice to do it just for the sake of it, if you feel to. – o0'. Jan 9 '12 at 16:55
Also, I hope that using some of the matching techniques that SETI used, I can use it as a tool explaining the BitCoin system to more users :] – Nils Munch Jan 9 '12 at 17:54
This question is phrased like a discussion, which isn't really a good format for this Q&A site. It might be better rewritten as "What are the pros and cons of..." – Highly Irregular Jan 9 '12 at 22:41
up vote 3 down vote accepted

There's a project on google code:

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Heheh... nice. This was actually -exactly- what I had in mind :) – Nils Munch Jan 4 '13 at 8:44

In the interests of keeping people's power bills low, I'd recommend not bothering to write anything that uses CPU mining as the bitcoins earned will not even come close to recovering the cost of the electricity.

If you can get it working with ATI graphics cards though, it would be quite a neat idea. It would also be a good way for charitable organisations to earn donations without people needing to put in their credit card details. Eg a donate-to-wikileaks screensaver.

However, there are also ethical issues to consider - not only does mining have a substantial electricity cost (where I live, it can be as high as $45 a month with my 5850 card), it also has a substantial effect of shortening the life of the hardware doing the processing. The average Joe Bloggs should really be made aware of those issues before they install & run mining software.

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I agree. Most people would find the increase in power consumption costs more than they could make mining and the extra heat for long periods of time could well cause them real problems. I think the era of "casual" Bitcoin mining is gone now. – David Schwartz Jan 9 '12 at 23:42

Casual mining is not too popular or profitable. If you are not mining casually, you mine all the time and don't want to slow your computer down with anything.

Moreover, one can set the priority of mining program to be quite low, thus not impeding the functionality of the computer (when computer is idle, computer mines at full speed, otherwise it slows down to let normal use have as much processing power as it needs).

Despite that. Some casual people might be interested in playing around with a screensaver miner if it was available.

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There might be more interest for this in the sCrypt-based forks (the "CPU Friendly" forks) since they still have a fairly vibrant casual mining community. – David Perry Jan 9 '12 at 18:17
@DavidPerry: those are toy-currencies, though. – o0'. Jan 20 '12 at 8:55
Please be thoughtful with your comments @Lohoris, the URL may be "" but the proposal was "Bitcoin & CryptoCurrencies." I know that bashing alternate forks is a popular pastime on the forums, but here it's inappropriate. – David Perry Jan 20 '12 at 17:08
@Lohoris: I'm not arguing with your point, I'm arguing with the idea that your point is appropriate for a StackExchange site. We welcome questions, answers and comments based on objectivity and facts, not opinions. If you want to share objective knowledge, SE is the right place. If you want to share your opinions, please do so on the forums. – David Perry Jan 23 '12 at 16:54
@Lohoris: The technology behind alternate cryptocurrencies is no different than the technology behind Bitcoin, the fundamentals of both are shared and only certain aspects of the implementation differ. Regardless, this is not the place for such an argument. If you asked "are the alternate cryptocurrencies 'toy currencies'" you'd be downvoted into oblivion and I think you're aware of that. Please stop. – David Perry Jan 24 '12 at 15:51

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