A recent hot button topic in WordPress has been Crypto Mining.
What is Crypto Mining?
Mining is a way to use your computer hardware to ‘mine’ for Bitcoin (or whatever cryptocurrency). Cryptocurrency is a digital currency, generated by performing computationally expensive tasks that use a lot of your computer’s processing power. Basically a computer is paid for solving math numbers. This math solving verifies transitions, and effectively runs the cryptocurrency Wall Street.
Mining is earning money.
Why is it bad?
The problem is that you can’t actually do any profitable mining on your laptop. It’s not powerful enough. People have to build out crazy computers dedicated to mining, and those use a lot of power, which means you’ll end up paying more for electricity than it’s worth. Somewhere along the line, people decided to use the power of the crowd to make the money for them, and started to bundle mining tools in their software. uTorrent, for example, did that so every time you used their app, you made them a few thousandths of a penny. With millions of users, they make money and you pay more for electricity.
Isn’t that illegal?
How did websites get involved?
It’s THAT illegal?
Amusingly, Showtime’s website was mining, and we’re not yet sure how or why. It was removed quickly.
Is there a good way to use this on my website?
If you absolutely must, I recommend an approach like AuthedMine. This legit enforces opt in. But check with your web host first to make sure it doesn’t violate their terms. And above all, make sure people know what they’re agreeing to.