A post on Google’s Chromium blog today makes it clear: The search giant won’t allow any new cryptocurrency mining extensions on its browser’s web store, and those already on it will soon get the boot.
Google’s Play Store has been laden with phony crypto-based apps that have developed a reputation for robbing the people who download them, harvesting their data, or mining coins for some third party in secret. It seems related problems have cropped up with non-compliant extensions in the Chrome Store.
As the post diplomatically states (emphasis ours):
Until now, Chrome Web Store policy has permitted cryptocurrency mining in extensions as long as it is the extension’s single purpose, and the user is adequately informed about the mining behaviour. Unfortunately, approximately 90% of all extensions with mining scripts that developers have attempted to upload to Chrome Web Store have failed to comply with these policies, and have been either rejected or removed from the store.
Starting today, Chrome Web Store will no longer accept extensions that mine cryptocurrency. Existing extensions that mine cryptocurrency will be delisted from the Chrome Web Store in late June. Extensions with blockchain-related purposes other than mining will continue to be permitted in the Web Store.
While bans on advertising for ICOs or other blockchain-related products have been adopted by Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, Snapchat, and most recently MailChimp, for the time being, Google appears to be leaving extensions with blockchain purposes unrelated to mining alone. That’s good news for services like MetaMask, which has become a backbone service of sorts for Ethereum-based applications.
Of course, it’s not just explicitly mining-related extensions Google has been playing whack-a-mole with. SafeBrowse, a “protect browsing” extension, was found to be secretly mining Monero in the background without its 140,000+ users’ knowledge or consent.
According to Google, any mining extensions already in the Chrome Store will be removed in June.