Google has announced that the Chrome Web Store is banning extensions that contain cryptocurrency mining scripts. New extensions with coin mining scripts submitted to the store are being rejected as of today, and existing extensions already in the store will be removed “in late July.”
The timeframe might sound familiar to those who have been watching the space — Google announced in March that it would ban all cryptocurrency-related advertising in June. Facebook was the first to make the move banning cryptocurrency ads, in February, and Twitter followed suit in March.
But Google now wants to go beyond just ads. Until now, the Chrome Web Store permitted cryptocurrency mining extensions as long as two requirements were met: Mining had to be the extension’s sole purpose, and the user had to be adequately informed about the mining behavior.
Google has decided to make the change now because “over the past few months” it has seen a rise in malicious extensions that include hidden cryptocurrency mining scripts running in the background without the user’s consent. And 90 percent of all extensions with mining scripts that developers have attempted to upload to the Chrome Web Store have failed to comply with the aforementioned policies.
In other words, this is why we can’t have nice things.
These mining scripts often consume significant CPU resources, which can severely affect the computer’s performance and power consumption:
Google specifically has a problem with Chrome extensions that hijack the browser for mining. Extensions that offer other blockchain-related features or services other than mining will continue to be permitted, the company says.
The extensions platform provides powerful capabilities that have enabled our developer community to build a vibrant catalog of extensions that help users get the most out of Chrome. Unfortunately, these same capabilities have attracted malicious software developers who attempt to abuse the platform at the expense of users.
The crypto community will unsurprisingly not be pleased with this move. Google, meanwhile, says the policy “is another step forward in ensuring that Chrome users can enjoy the benefits of extensions without exposing themselves to hidden risks.”