People are now creating scripts to mine cryptocurrencies using your computing power while you visit any websites which employ these scripts. I first learned about this when The Pirate Bay used such a script in certain sections of their website.
This is an extremely interesting development and it will be just as interesting to see how wide-spread it becomes. Just days after TPB was found running such a script, there was already a cryptocurrency miner WordPress plug-in on wordpress.org with 300+ active installs as of Sep. 27, 2017.
At first i categorized this as outright malware and, in fact, i would say this was accurate in the case of The Pirate Bay when they introduced it secretively and didn’t make it an opt-in option for its users. It also appears that ad-blockers, including uBlock Origin, as well as anti-virus software vendors, are targeting these mining scripts. After giving it some thought however, this seems like it might be an excellent way for independent journalists and others to generate some “cash” to support their work whilst dumping, or at least cutting back on their intrusive ads.
The company apparently responsible for all the hub-bub is Coinhive and, frankly, i very much like what they have to say about their cryptocurrency miner. There are millions of people — me being one of them — running ad-blockers to remove all the in-your-face garbage that people and corporations use to monetize their websites and the service offered by Coinhive could be a revolution in this regard in that everyone, from the Google’s of the world to individuals like yourself, could monetize websites and services with cryptocurrency miners that are virtually transparent to their visitors. I say “virtually” because i think it is absolutely critical that such mining scripts only run if the visitor chooses to run them. Apparently Coinhive feels the same way. Here’s some comments from the Coinhive blog:
Our goal was to offer a viable alternative to intrusive and annoying ads that litter so many websites today. These ads are not only a distraction to end users, but also provide notoriously unpredictable and non-transparent revenue numbers. We set out to change that.[…]
We’re a bit saddened to see that some of our customers integrate Coinhive into their pages without disclosing to their users what’s going on, let alone asking for their permission. We believe there’s so much more potential for our solution, but we have to be respectful to our end users.[…]
Right now i’m blocking these scripts, but hopefully this will change in the future.
I wanted to finally get in on the cryptocurrency ‘thing’ and so i started poking around and found several guides that discussed how to buy a cryptocurrency, primarily Bitcoin. One of the better guides i found is 101+ Best Ways to Buy Bitcoins Online in 2017. After spending a lot of time looking at these coin brokers and reviewing their “privacy” policies and what personal information they required, i got rather disgusted with the whole thing. And then i thought about another approach…
Why not just find a private party that has the cryptocurrency i wanted and offer to trade for dollars? And so i emailed one of my favorite independent journalists/analysts and said “hey, if i donate $60 to you, will you send me $50 in Bitcoin and you can keep the $10?”. For me this was a win-win-win thing because the $10 went toward a worthy cause instead of some cryptocurrency broker and i got my coin and i didn’t have to create any website accounts or give up any personal information.
So if you’re looking to make a small splash in the cryptocurrency pool, you might want to try my method.