Google exiles cryptocurrency mining apps from Play Store

July 27, 2018
Chris Wheal

Play Store

Google is restricting cryptocurrency activities on Play Store: Shutterstock

Google has followed Apple, which recently banned cryptocurrency mining apps from the iOS App Store and Mac App Store, by stating they won’t be allowed on the Android Play Store.

Like Apple, Google will continue to allow mining if the processing happens in the cloud, but on-device mining on Android hardware is now banned.

“We don’t allow apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices,” Google confirmed in its Google Play update policy centre document. “We permit apps that remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency.”

Google’s ban on cryptocurrencies in the Play Store follows its block on crypto mining extensions on the Chrome Web Store in response to a rise in CoinHive-based in-browser miners.

A series of restrictions

Google stopped accepting new crypto mining extensions in April, and delisted them in June, overturning its previous policy that allowed crypto miners provided they sufficiently explained their purpose. It banned them outright after finding that 90% of the mining extension failed to inform users of their mining functionality.

The new policy means that if any Android app uses a device’s central processing unit (CPU) or graphics processing unit (GPU) for cryptocurrency mining operations, Google will now start de-listing them. Several developers who have already had their apps removed from the Play Store, voiced concerns over the policy on Reddit and other social media platforms.

A further new Play Store ban includes one outlawing repetitive apps. “We don’t allow apps that merely provide the same experience as other apps already on Google Play,” said Google. “Apps should provide value to users through creation of unique content or services.”

Apple’s own clampdown on cryptocurrencies addressed both the potential damage they can cause to the hardware – including battery drain and excessive heat – restricted initial coin offerings (ICOs) to established banks, and outlawed apps that offer crypto currency in exchange for other actions such as downloading other apps or posting promotions for them on social networks.

 

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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