It isn’t uncommon for web developers to explore ways to monetize their websites and expect to be rewarded for the content they provide. Developers have traditionally relied on delivering content such as advertisements, affiliate links or premium memberships to create cashflow from their projects, but one crazy idea is about to take the digital marketing world by storm: In-Browser Cryptomining.
What is CryptoMining?
Many cryptocurrencies revolve around the concept of Proof of Work. This involves computing devices solving complex equations which allows them to write to a thing called the blockchain, an immutable ledger that stores crypto transaction data. Cryptomining is usually done by large server farms or dedicated mining computers and they are rewarded for their proof of work with crypto payments.
In-Browser cryptomining is when people visit a website, their internet browser runs a script which uses their computers processing power to mine cryptocurrency for the web developer.
The Good and the Bad
Over recent years, we have seen a continuing rise in the use of ad blocking and filtering software. In 2016 it was estimated that nearly 25% of web traffic passed through a ad filter of some description and this is financially straining the pockets of many web developers. Many large editorials are now defaulting to premium memberships to access content or even completely removing access for users who use adblockers.
Coming as a both a web developer and an internet user, there are a number of pros and cons to this new technology:
- Unobtrusive way for developers to monetize their webpage
- Uses unused CPU cycles and computing power that would have been otherwise idle
- Real tangible payouts for developers
Similar to adblocking software, there is a plethora of software available for blocking scripts running on webpages. With-in hours of coin-hive being discovered on the piratebay website, the coin-hive domain being added to uBlock Origin’s blocklist; however it is unlikely this will be a permanent fix to the issue as different miners become available on the internet
- Electricity/Hardware Degradation
However minuscule the cost of running a CPU slightly harder then normal, it will be difficult to justify to many users the increased electricity usage and hardware cycles running a browser mining script will use. While it would add a relativity tiny workload to the browsers computer, the perception to the end user that they are paying a price for content may be hard for them to fathom.
How is cryptomining implemented?
It’s as simple as signing up on the Coin-Hive webpage, adding the following code, replacing the site key with your own.
<script> var miner = new CoinHive.Anonymous(‘<site-key>’); miner.start(); </script>
As the technology develops further, it is inevitable that we will see even more projects and potentially even open-source software for implementing cryptomining. If you are interested in learning more about real-world blockchain projects, check out our article on Banking and the Blockchain – The Inevitable Future