Razer will give you store credit for mining cryptocurrency (that you don't get to keep)

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Razer has launched a new crypto rewards program called Razer SoftMiner (opens in new tab) that enables users to put their GPUs to work mining "Silver." It sounds like cryptocurrency mining, and, well, it is: You'll need to download and install the Razer SoftMiner program to take part, and Razer warned that it "uses a substantial amount of your GPU power," and will almost certainly slow your rig down when it's running. But Razer also emphasized that Razer Silver itself "is not a cryptocurrency." 

"[Razer Silver] is a loyalty rewards program," it explained in the FAQ (opens in new tab). "We work with crypto mining technology to harness your computer’s GPU. In turn, we award you with Silver, giving you access to Razer’s ecosystem and suite of rewards (opens in new tab)." 

Razer has partnered with GammaNow, which launched earlier this year with its own game-based reward program. Razer presumably keeps whatever actual cryptocurrencies are mined by its users, although it seems to go out of its way to avoid addressing that point: "We work with crypto mining technology" is as close as it gets to saying that there is actual cryptocurrency mining going on here.

Even so, it's arguably a convenient crypto compromise. Your PC is just sitting there doing nothing anyway, and taking advantage of a rewards program is a whole lot simpler than having to deal with the vagaries of cryptocurrency markets.

Razer states that location, the amount of time spent mining, and the GPU in your system will all have an impact on your mining speed: "If you have the proper setup, you can earn approximately 500 Razer Silver or more within a day!" Someone did the math and at that rate, running non-stop, it will take you 560 days—more than a year and a half—to earn enough silver to claim a Razer Huntsman Elite (opens in new tab) keyboard, which normally retails for $200.

According to my back-of-the-napkin calculations (and those of Scott Chicken, who came up with the same number on the UK side), that works out to a little over a penny per silver, which isn't exactly a lucrative rate, especially when you consider how much electricity your PC is chugging while it's grinding away on Razermining.

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But the real kicker is that Razer Silver expires one year after it's earned, so the most you'll ever have to redeem is a year's worth—meaning that unless you're cranking on multiple high-end rigs, you will literally never be able to claim any of the high-end stuff in the rewards lineup from mining alone, even if you are patient and attentive enough to stay on top of it for the years required to accumulate sufficient silver. 

There are less demanding rewards to be claimed. You can pick up a ten percent discount on a Loot Crate subscription for 1500 silver, for instance, or a Smite Razer Bronze Chest for 4000. And yes, your PC is just sitting there doing nothing for part of the day, so if you're a big Razer fan and not too hung up on your electricity bill, this is one way to indulge your fandom and maybe get some stuff in the process.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.