How Salon Magazine is Jumping on the Cryptocurrency Mining Trend 0 207

Is Javascript Mining The Future Of Cryptocurrency Mining?

For most online media companies and peer-to-peer sharing platforms, advertising revenue is their bread and butter. They don’t have the benefit of a tangible product that they can supplement their income with. However, people hate being constantly bombarded by ads and ad blockers are being used more and more. Could using the CPU of their users’ computers for cryptocurrency mining, mostly for Monero, be the future of online revenue?

Why Salon chose javascript mining?

Online magazine Salon seems to think so. They offer their content for free by capitalizing on ad revenue. Even though people are unwilling to pay for content they equally unwilling to put up with ads. That’s why as stated in the opening paragraph ad-blockers are becoming increasingly more popular. These stop users from having to see ads but also stops sites from gaining the revenue from them. Salon and other sites, such as popular peer-to-peer outlaw Pirate Bay, have decided that to give the users the ad-free experience they want they would turn to JavaScript mining.

We’ll go into the logistics of JavaScript mining a bit further on in this article but essentially it allows a site to harness their users CPU to mine cryptocurrency. Most prominently Monero. This is why users on Salon who used ad-block were greeted with a pop-up asking them to disable their adblock and allow mining.  Many readers did not appreciate this, for one thin, Monero has slowly been replacing Bitcoin as the go-to cryptocurrency for illegal activities, for another thing cryptocurrency mining takes a toll on your computer.

How mining using another computer’s CPU works

In order to have users mine Monero, there needs to use a program called Coinhive. Coinhive is a javascript miner for the Monero blockchain. You embed the script into your website and it lets you use your users CPU to mine for you as for as long as they stay on your page. This was created with the intention of providing a revenue stream other than ads for website owners. However, it has been used maliciously and may cause actual damage to the computers users. Als, a lot of sites don’t let their users know they are doing it.

Problems with the system

Firstly Coinhive’s script has been used to create viruses that trick people in mining Monero for them on their phones. At this point, only Android phones have been affected. Hackers created a link that claims that the user of the phone needs to verify their identity to use a certain app. They do this by solving a captcha, a relatively harmless thing that most internet users have to do about every day. However in this instance in the time that you are on the “verification” site, they are using your phone’s hardware to mine Monero without your permission.

Alongside the obvious violation of your privacy, there is another problem with this kind of thing. Mining, even Javascript mining requires a lot of processing power. It will send your device into overdrive. The fans will be on full blast and your processing power will significantly decrease while you remain on that site. You will feel the difference as soon as the mining process starts. It will also force your machine to either loose battery power faster or to use far more electricity than usual. This could do permanent damage to your device if it happens too frequently.

Is javascript mining the future of ad-free browsing? If the process becomes more refined, then this could be another avenue for cryptocurrency mining.

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