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New JavaScript Monero Miner Released as More Sites Begin to Mine Coins

A new JavaScript Monero miner project called Crypto-Loot was launched recently. This new JavaScript Monero miner is a competitor to Coinhive, a mining service which originated from a German image board. These cryptocurrency miners run inside of web browsers when a user navigates to a page which loads and runs the mining script. Some websites have deployed these Monero miners in a hidden or secretive way, which has led some people to claim these services are nothing more than malware.

These new JavaScript cryptocurrency miners build on an idea which first appeared around two and a half years after the debut of Bitcoin, the first true decentralized cryptocurrency. In the summer of 2011 a mining pool site called bitp.it was launched. Bitp.it allowed users to embed a JavaScript miner into websites and would mine Bitcoin using the computer processing power of that site’s visitors. The software behind bitp.it was released as jsMiner. Bitp.it would go on to shut down at the end of 2011 and the site administrators made off with all of their users’ Bitcoin. Other JavaScript Bitcoin miners were created, and some are even still maintained to this day, such as Hash Me If You Can.

However, the ability to mine Bitcoin using standard CPUs and GPUs is no longer practical. New JavaScript miners like Coinhive and Crypto-Loot mine for Monero instead of Bitcoin. Monero is one of the most privacy-centric cryptocurrencies available on the market today, and its coins can be mined efficiently with both regular CPUs and GPUs, instead of specialized processors like ASICS and FPGAs which are needed to efficiently mine Bitcoin and other similar coins. Neither Coinhive, nor Crypto-Loot, utilize the GPUs of a site’s visitors to mine coins, and instead both miners only rely on visitors’ CPUs.

The new miner by Crypto-Loot has some important differences from Coinhive’s miner. One difference is that Crypto-Loot only charges a 12% fee, unlike Coinhive which charges a 30% fee. Another difference between the miners is the minimum amount of Monero that can be withdrawn. Crypto-Loot allows sites to withdraw Monero once they have mined at least 0.3 XMR, while the minimum withdraw amount on Coinhive is 0.5 XMR.

As we reported earlier this month on DeepDotWeb, The Pirate Bay had recently ran Coinhive’s JavaScript Monero miner on certain pages such as the search results and the categories pages. Admins of The Pirate Bay said that they had hoped to eliminate ads by implementing the Coinhive miner script. Some users and people associated with the torrenting site were upset because the site did not publish a notice that a cryptocurrency miner had been placed on the site and that it was running in the background. After The Pirate Bay rolled out their test of Coinhive’s Monero miner, other pirate sites and video sharing sites began to also embed JavaScript Monero miners as well. It isn’t just websites which are using JavaScript Monero miners, recently an adblocker extension for Google Chrome was caught hiding the Coinhive miner and forcing users to mine Monero for them. That extension was removed by Google, but other extensions still incorporate a Monero miner. One YouTube UI tweaking extension called Iridium gives users the option to mine Monero to support the developer.

One well known streaming video search site, Alluc, was among the new sites to have implemented the Coinhive miner. Unlike The Pirate Bay, Alluc was more upfront and transparent about adding the miner to their site. Alluc allows the user to see their mining stats and provides users an incentive to mine through a permanent ad free experience they can achieve by mining for the site. “It’s a fun way users can get rid of ads (which are disabled after the counter hits 600k) which we are happy to try since just like users we hate ads. In the current implementation, the user actually starts browsing ad-free permanently after a certain amount of hashes have been generated,” someone with the Alluc site told TorrentFreak. “When being transparent about it, providing an opt-out option and rewarding the user if he chooses to let the miner run it may have the potential of making a great widget for webmasters and users alike.” JavaScript Monero mining is even showing up on mainstream sites such as multiple sites owned by the premium TV network Showtime.

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