Google Outlaws Cryptocurrency Apps On Play

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Internet search giant Google has gone another step further in outlawing cryptocurrency apps.

Mining apps are already banned from the Chrome Store – which provides extensions for the Google Chrome browser.

This has prevented mining apps from reaching a sizeable portion of the browser markets as Chrome is reckoned to have a 60% share of all browsers across desktops and mobile phones.

Fears of cryptojacking have led Google to take further action.

Cryptojacking is when a remote computer takes control of someone else’s hardware and processing power to mine cryptocurrency for profit without their permission.

Google has now expanded the ban to stop cryptocurrency mining apps on the Google Playstore, which is the main global provider for apps running on the Android operating system, mainly for mobile phone and tablets.

Wallets still allowed

Google’s policy for developers is any apps that allow the mining of cryptocurrency are banned, but any app that allows the remote management of cryptocurrency holdings, ie electronic wallets, are fine.

The ban follows warnings from online security watchdogs, such as Kaspersky, that developers had infiltrated the store to offer what appeared to be harmless gaming and entertainment apps that were really sheltering mining apps like Coinhive.

One was Placar TV, which streamed football matches while mining Monero without permission.

Placar and other disguised mining apps were spotted after complaints that they drained batteries or slowed processors.

Apple has banned mining apps, while Google, Twitter and Facebook have strict advertising policies for cryptocurrency advertising aimed at clamping down on rogue traders running scam initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Lawful cryptomining

The Google Developer Policy Center has been updated to reflect the new code.

The page says: “Financial Instruments – We don’t allow apps that expose users to deceptive or harmful financial instruments.

“Binary Options – We do not allow apps that provide users with the ability to trade binary options.

“Cryptocurrencies – We don’t allow apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices. We permit apps that remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency.”

Not all cryptomining apps are hackers – the United Nations has asked computer users to donate spare processing time to allow the mining of cryptocurrency to raise funds for the charity UNICEF.

It’s unclear how cryptojacking bans affect lawful users.

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