Google recently announced its plan to remove all the cryptocurrency mining apps from the Play Store. But, some apps are still found on the Play Store. Google only permits those apps that mines cryptocurrency through a remote platform. But, developers are easily publishing smartphone mining software to the Play Store.
JSEcoin, a British blockchain startup works on browser-based mining solutions. Earlier this week, JSEcoin announced that it successfully rolled out its mobile app to the Google Play Store.
This app allows you to manage your mining efforts remotely. But, it also comes with a feature to mine cryptocurrency directly on your mobile device. This feature definitely goes against Google’s new policy. Still, the app manages to bypass Google’s new restriction policy.
TNW reached out to John Sim, the co-founder and chief technology officer to ask few questions about this. Sim replied through an email that the app allows mining cryptocurrency directly on mobile devices. He also stated that they were aware about Google’s restriction policy. So, they reached out to the Google Support team to ask whether they are allowed to provide their users to mine tokens via their official app.
TNW also reached out Google to clarify about its new cryptocurrency mining policy. A Google spokesperson said that their policies are regularly updated to have a safe and positive experience for consumers and developers on Google Play.
Moments Later, the app was removed from the Play Store. Google suspended the app as it was violating its new policies. JSEcoin will be looking forward with other options they have to publish its official app – one without a smartphone mining capability on the Play Store.
Though Google suspended the app for violating its new policies, it seems Google is not consistent in enforcing its rules. An unofficial JSEcoin Mining app has been on the Play Store since the beginning of this year.
Just as JSEcoin was able to publish a smartphone mining app on the Play Store, we could expect other such apps. So, even after Google’s policy update, we might see such other apps rolling out to the Play Store.
MinerGate is a cryptocurrency mining app which allows you to mine Monero directly on your smartphone. It has been live for more than a year and has over 1,000,000 downloads.
Some positive reviews of MinerGate suggests great profits, while others claim the app as a scam. Such mining apps make your device hot and drains the battery much faster than normal.
Along with MinerGate, there are still many other apps that claim to provide mining cryptocurrency directly on your smartphone. According to XDA developers, there are five apps existing on the Play Store that claim to do so. Namely: Crypto Miner PRO, MinerGate, AA Miner, NeoNeonMiner, and Pocket Miner. So, it seems Google is not able to follow up on its promise to remove cryptocurrency mining apps.
Should users worry?
Such mining apps are a part of a much bigger issue. So, Google made certain changes to its policy to protect its Play Store users from malicious cryptocurrency apps.
Google has never allowed such dangerous apps on the Play Store. So, banning such cryptocurrency mining apps is a direct solution to the risk of crypto-jacking scripts.
Banning mining apps is a good solution as most of them were fake, or just adware. Users are unaware about risks involved with mining cryptocurrency on a mobile device. Mobile devices are neither designed, nor optimized for mining cryptocurrency.
Mining cryptocurrency on your smartphone could cause permanent damage to your smartphone. There are many other security risks involved with mining cryptocurrency on your smartphone. Banning such apps from the Play Store is a good solution. But, there are people who would anyway mine cryptocurrency from their smartphones. Removing the apps from the Play Store doesn’t mean they won’t be available elsewhere.
So, we may see the rise of third-party cryptocurrency mining apps. Users can easily install such apps from untrusted developers. This increases the chances of more malicious and illegal apps which could permanently damage user’s smartphone.
One thing Google could do is enforcing their rules more strictly. If the Play Store is completely free from such mining apps, half of the users will be safe from installing such apps. But, it doesn’t mean that the world will be entirely free from cryptocurrency mining malware or cryptojacking.