Salon magazine mines crypto-cash with readers' PCs


Visitors who use adblock while on the Salon website are being asked to either disable the ad-blocking software, which would allow advertisements to run, or to authorize the website to mine cryptocurrency temporarily using the visitor's computer.

Like many sites that depend on add revenue, Salon has felt the pinch of ad-blocking software in their money bag.

Salon said they made a decision to add this alternative to recoup lost ad revenue when visitors use an ad blocker. This is causing many sites to lose out on revenue (unless users whitelist particular addresses), but USA media group Salon is trying out an innovative solution to the problem.

These calculations are powered by a programme called Coinhive, the website says, which hides in readers' web browsers and uses a portion of their computers' power to solve complex algorithms to unlock monero - a rival cryptocurrency to bitcoin. Do you have issues with lending websites your computer's power to mine cryptocurrency? Before opting for any such option, it is very important for you as a reader to understand the technicalities of this approval. Salon has issued a clarification on this matter by saying that it will avoid that by actively adjusting the processing power being used by the crypto-miner.

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Searching for new revenue in the cash-strapped and ad-blocked world of media, the blog is turning to the new hotness: Cryptocurrency mining. But in other cases, users have been unaware that Coinhive was being used on their systems.

"On the other hand, Salon is quite bullish on the use of blockchain technology and announced that it "[plans] to further use any learnings from this to help support the evolution and growth of blockchain technology, digital currencies and other ways to better service the value exchange between content and user contribution". These will be your choices from now on when you go to Salon's website. "Should you begin a process that requires more of your computer's resources, we automatically reduce the amount we are using for calculations". Salon is mining the privacy-focused cryptocurrency Monero. If you opt for the latter deal, Salon will invite you to install a software plugin - Coinhive - that allows the media publication to mine Monero cryptocurrency.

The move comes as the online publishing model comes under increasing strain. The mining process will continue as long as the user is accessing Salon's content. Critics though have raised concerns about recent criminal activity associated with Monero and hacks that have involved Coinhive.

The publication claims that the process only takes place when readers are on the website, and Salon will not gain access to readers' personal information or files.