Google is banning all Chrome extensions that mine cryptocurrencies. Google will no longer accept extensions that mine cryptocurrency, and any existing Chrome extensions that mine crypto will be removed from the Chrome Web Store in June.
Hiding Crypto Mining Scripts in Extensions
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, cryptocurrencies are big business. The value of Bitcoin exploded through 2017, eventually hitting almost $20,000. It has since retreated, but cryptocurrencies are clearly here to stay.
While people trade in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, these can also be mined. And that has led to developers placing crypto mining scripts in websites, apps, and extensions. Often without telling users about it.
Google Bans Callous Chrome Crypto Miners
Google has, until now, allowed cryptocurrency mining in Chrome extensions as long as it was the sole purpose of the extension, and that users are informed of that fact. However, with 90 percent of the extensions failing to comply with the rules, Google has had enough.
According to the Chromium Blog, the “Chrome Web Store will no longer accept extensions that mine cryptocurrency.” And “existing extensions that mine cryptocurrency will be delisted from the Chrome Web Store in late June.” No exceptions.
This doesn’t mean Google is waging war on cryptocurrencies though, as “extensions with blockchain-related purposes other than mining will continue to be permitted in the Web Store.” In other words, developers need to stop taking advantage of users.
The reason for this change of policy is how much strain crypto mining places on CPUs. As can be seen in Google’s diagram above, a cryptocurrency mining script running in the background of an extension can severely impact the performance of a user’s computer.
Putting the Cryptocurrency House in Order
Google is right to crack down on developers hiding crypto mining scripts in Chrome extensions. It’s underhanded, and shouldn’t be tolerated. Especially when Bitcoin et al are still such a fledgling industry that we need podcasts explaining crypto.
Image Credit: Marco Verch/Flickr
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