Business

Steve Kaaru

In-browser Monero mining service Coinhive to shut down operations

It has been loved and loathed in equal measure, but finally, Coinhive is calling it quits. The Monero in-browser mining service announced that it will shut down operations on March 8. It named several factors for the shutdown, including the 85 percent decline in the price of Monero.

In-browser mining is no longer economically viable, Coinhive wrote. It further explained:

“The drop in hash rate (over 50%) after the last Monero hard fork hit us hard. So did the “crash” of the cryptocurrency market with the value of XMR depreciating over 85% within a year. This and the announced hard fork and algorithm update of the Monero network on March 9 has led us to the conclusion that we need to discontinue Coinhive.”

Mining will shut down on March 8; however, Coinhive users will have a grace period that will last until April 30 to ensure they withdraw their payments, provided the balance is above the minimum payment threshold.

Coinhive has gone full circle in its eighteen months of operation. The service was meant to be a replacement to the irritating banner ads on websites. Instead of serving ads to their visitors, websites could use the service to mine Monero using the visitors’ CPU power. The websites loaded a Coinhive JavaScript file on their pages which mined the Monero. The firm retained 30 percent of the profits.

And it worked. Coinhive became wildly popular with many websites. Being one of the first services to offer such a product, it controlled over 70 percent of the in-browser mining market. 

Unfortunately, criminals quickly got wind and adapted it for malicious use. They would plant it on websites without their knowledge or consent and mine the Monero for themselves. In no time, even government websites fell prey to the service. The U.S, the U.K and Australian government websites were some of the 4,000 affected websites.

Even with its illicit use, Coinhive was quite profitable. During its peak, it facilitated the mining of $150,000 worth of Monero every month according to one academic research. It was also responsible for 1.2 percent of the mining power of the Monero network.

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