In July 2018, Google enforced a ban on applications that allowed mining cryptocurrencies on mobile devices. However, some apps with on-device mining capabilities are still live on the Play Store.
A month ago, the search giant Google updated its Play Store policy banning all the apps engaged into cryptocurrency mining activities along with low-quality and low-effort applications. Ad content including Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets and cryptocurrency trading advice was blacklisted as well. The move was aimed at cutting down on apps that secretly mine coins in the background of devices. The company gave developers one month to either comply with Google’s revised terms of service, or be removed from the Play Store.
However, around two weeks ago, it turned out that despite the ban, many apps with on-device mining capabilities are still live on the Play Store. Moreover, there was one app that even managed to launch to the Play Store after the ban. According to Google, this shouldn’t have happened, that’s why the app was soon removed from the platform.
Such apps as MinerGate, AA Miner, and Free BCH Miner have been removed as well, as they didn’t manage to comply with Google’s updated terms. It is interesting that MinerGate claimed that they reissued an older version, and the latest iteration of its app was stripped down from its on-device mining features in order to comply with Google’s updated terms:
“Mining on your phone directly was among the core features of the MinerGate app before the last changes in Google Play Development policies. With the last update, we are removing this functionality to meet the updated requirements.”
Among apps that still remain on the Play Store are NeoNeonMiner, Crypto Miner PRO, Pickaxe Miner, Pocket Miner, and Bitcoin Miner. The last one claims to have amended its offering to comply with the new terms.
The new terms introduced by Google don’t prohibit anything to do with crypto; it’s just on-device mining that is prohibited. Nothing has changed for official apps from crypto exchanges, as well as apps that let you monitor mining on a different device. Other developers are trying to find alternative ways of bypassing Google’s ban and distribute apps with on-device mining functionalities.
The ban from Google came after Apple introduced similar restrictions to its app store. Such restrictions can protect smartphone users by warning that in case they download and install apps from third parties, they may also be installing malware or other illegitimate scripts to their smartphone without even realizing it.