Since difficulty constantly rises and pools control more computing power than ever before the BTC/computing power will go down and so will the $/computing power if exchange-rates stay the same or lowers.
I was just wondering if the pool owners could re-program their system so that the computing power can be used for bruteforcing?
If it was possible they could just pay off all the bruteforce computing-power with the equal amount of BTC/share without the miner knowing a thing.
So, could this lead to a scenario where it is possible to buy bruteforce computing-power?
Why not think about this in terms of "pay for computation"? The pools manage a distributed cluster. Say a University needs number crunching done. The pool publishes an update module for a special miner, you still get paid bitcoins for computation by the customer. When there's no work, back to bitcoin mining.
This is a plus for bitcoin (stimulating the economy) and a plus for miners (since you'd charge customers a percentage more than a share in a block).
Downside is of course blackhats could purchase time for bruteforcing, or other nefarious hash cracking reasons.
The other downside is a specific miner would be needed for each pool, and someone would have to make it modular enough that any specific computational requirement of a customer could be met. If someone has the nouse to do that, they'll be on a winner.
Maybe I'm missing something, but bitcoin mining shouldn't be the only use we put Thps computational power to.