As Nvidia’s Cryptocurrency Mining Sales Drop, ‘Cryptojacking’ Flourishes

U.S. chipmaker Nvidea (NVDA) has reported a cool down in mining revenue during the third quarter, likely in response to a volatile cryptocurrency market. At the same time, stealth mining or ‘cryptojacking’ is on the rise, with the list of websites leeching off user CPU numbering in the thousands.

Nvidia’s Mining Operations Slide

Nvidia’s recent earnings call revealed a sharp decline in mining-related revenues. The segment generated some $70 million in sales during Q3, less than half of the $150 million generated in the second quarter.

Jens-Hsun Huang, the company’s CEO, said that graphic card sales would continue to benefit from the growth of mining, but that cryptocurrency will remain a “small, but not zero, part of our business.”

NVDA shares have risen dramatically over the past year, setting fresh record highs on a regular basis. The growth and widespread adoption of blockchain technology has been a key cog in the firm’s growth, with some analysts noting a  correlation between bitcoin and Nvidia prices. However, the yang of that relationship is the impact of a bitcoin price collapse on NVDA shares.

Last month, analysts at TD Ameritrade said firms like Nvidia could become the center of a selloff should bitcoin’s market price collapse. So far, that scenario has not come to fruition. In fact, the complete opposite has occurred.

Even with the disappointing drop in mining-related revenues, Nvidia topped quarterly profit and revenue forecasts.

Cryptojacking on the Rise

Despite Nvidia’s recent mining woes, websites are finding new ways to mint cryptocurrency on the backs of their users. There are now 2,500 websites that have been confirmed to mine on users’ CPUs without them their knowledge.

The finding was apparently uncovered by security researcher Willem de Groot, who found 2,496 e-commerce websites using cryptojacking techniques to leverage CPU power for mining purposes. These websites have been confirmed to use the infamous Coinhive, a JavaScript miner for the Monero blockchain.

Of course, the digital currency community has long been in the loop about the pervasiveness of cryptojacking, but may not have known the extent of the practice. Last month, Hacked reported that The Pirate Bay was back to mining cryptocurrency without users’ consent via the same Coinhive program de Groot targeted in his research.

Users who want to block mining from taking place on their CPU should use an adblocker or install an adequate Chrome plugin.

More people are relying on anti-mining software to protect their computing power. Malwarebytes says it blocks 8 million cryptojacking requests per day, a clear indicator of just how popular mining has become. In its recent monthly report, the company said it blocked nearly 248 million requests during October, most of which were for Coinhive. Analysts say this figure likely understates the extent of this so-called mining plague.

Malwarebytes is one of the first major antivirus companies to support the blocking of mining scripts.

Mining has become a highly profitable endeavor as more cryptocurrencies enter the fold. At the time of writing, there are nearly 1,300 cryptocurrencies in existence, a figure that will rise significantly as more businesses issue token raises. Among them, roughly half are not mineable, according to CryptoMarketCap.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Author:
Chief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi