Google Shows the Door for Crypto Miners Out of its Play Store

| Updated
by Sofiko Abeslamidze · 3 min read
Google Shows the Door for Crypto Miners Out of its Play Store
Photo: Google Play

Google has updated its Play Store policy banning all the apps engaged into cryptocurrency mining activities along with low-quality and low-effort applications.

It is surprising that being at the verge of blockchain revolution, the cryptocurrency industry still has very tense relationship with globe internet players like Google and Facebook. The history of their interaction resembles an everlasting ballet with one step taken forward and two steps back.

In January, Facebook banned all ads promoting cryptocurrencies and ICOs saying the ads are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices. Google has followed the lead of Facebook and outlawed cryptocurrency mining extensions from its Chrome Store.

The search giants also has blacklisted ad content including Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets and cryptocurrency trading advice. The reasons behind such measures remained undisclosed, thus Google had no special policy of any kind regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs.

However, back then the Google Play Store has somehow bypassed an updated policy eliminating risky financial products. Today times have changed and newly introduced updates have come to Play Store’s policies aiming to root out cryptocurrency mining activities.

In a new update to its developer policies, Google has indicated that apps used to mine cryptocurrencies will be prohibited henceforth. However, California-based tech firm made an exception concerning apps, which are used in the remote management of cryptocurrency mining, saying these will be allowed.

The ban comes in the wake of rising cases of devices’ crypto hacking that has practically proven to be more lucrative than ransomware by malicious actors. The research conducted by global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky has revealed Google Play Store offering mining apps disguised as harmless entertainment.

Yet the latest developer policy makes it clear one cannot distribute an app that uses the computing power of Android device to make cryptocurrency. Cell phones do not tend to have a lot of processing power, so that is not a huge monetary loss for anyone who hoped to use a device for cryptocurrency mining, but the heat generated from cranking out crypto is affecting the devices’ longevity.

More restrictions have been placed on ads that have something to do with firearms and accessories that fall under the banner to “facilitate the sale of explosives, firearms, ammunition, or certain firearms accessories.” In addition, it is taking steps towards getting rid of low-quality, low-effort applications.

The apps copying others without adding anything original or anything of value, as well as multiple applications with “similar content and user experience” created by the same developer will now get the boot. The Play Store will also kick out apps primarily made to serve ads and those that intend to mislead users by pretending to be something else entirely.

As the subject of cryptocurrency mining apps has long been controversial, it is probably not too surprising that Google Play Store have banned these types of apps. Nevertheless, Google co-founder Sergey Brin has an opposite point of view. Speaking at the Blockchain Summit, he revealed his passion for Ethereum mining, saying Google missed the boat when it came to the distributed ledger technology.

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Sofiko Abeslamidze

Sofiko is a freelance fintech copywriter at Coinspeaker. With a Bachelor degree in International Business and Economics, Sofiko has been deepening her knowledge of an agile innovative industry primary focusing on the robust blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. As a bank employee, Sofiko particularly keens on crypto and blockchain integration into the established banking systems.

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