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Opt-in browser cryptocurrency mining

Correct me if I am wrong, but AdBlock includes by default the adblock-nocoin-list. This states that "Mining (Opt-in and opt-out) will be blocked by default".


This means that sites where the user has voluntarily decided to mine on behalf of the website are blocked. I don't think this should be the case. Perhaps we could have a discussion around this?


Of course, the user could whitelist the site, but there will be circumstances where the user would see ads as a result of whitelisting, when all they wanted to do was support the site in a way that they have already opted-in for. It also seems an unnecessary extra step when a select few compliant sites could be whitelisted by default or not blacklisted in the first place.


A great example of this is https://www.thehopepage.org/ - This is run by UNICEF Australia and asks volunteers to contribute CPU time to support their work. With AdBlock this is blocked. The miner in question AuthedMine (Coinhive's opt-in only sister program) only ever mines when given permission by the user. After some discussion EasyList agreed not to block AuthedMine on the basis that it is only ever run with user consent.


The nature of AdBlock is now a happy compromise between supporting webmasters through Acceptable Ads (rightly so) and upholding a high quality browsing experience for web users. Opt-in miners should be permitted in line with this as by it's very nature, this is a manner of supporting webmasters that the visitor has agreed to.


If miners that do not ask for permission and opt-in miners are treated in the same way, there is no incentive to create opt-in only services. We could perhaps solve the problem of people using new domains to evade ad block lists (making it hard for blockers to keep up) if a user friendly compromise is made.


I am not affiliated with any miner in any way, I work in ad tech and I have been following browser mining with interest as it could one day be a viable alternative way to fund webmaster's work, but decisions like this will kill off any innovation in the space before it has begun. It's an area that is understandably met with hostility, but I think if we can create an environment where responsible mining has a place and devious mining is rejected, we might see more creative implementations along the lines of TheHopePage.


The blocklist is really well maintained by hoshsadiq on Github, and it is up to him that he decides to include opt-in miners in his list, but I think AdBlock should be using an alternative list or making exceptions for compliant, opt-in miners.


I am interested in the thoughts of others around this.


Hi Oliver,


Thanks for your suggestion! I'm also curious what other folks think. I'll ask our developers to weigh in as well. If they have something interesting to say (and they generally do!), I'll include their comments in the discussion.


Warm regards,


Rhana Cassidy

AdBlock Community Manager


1 person likes this

Hi again!


According to our developer Brent, whitelisting a site that's using opt-in cryptocurrency mining instead of ads should work fine. There shouldn't be any ads anyway.


If the site is for some reason using both opt-in mining and ads, there's a solution for that, too. You can use the AdBlock tab in Chrome's developer tools to create an exception rule that whitelists mining while still blocking the ads. Here's how to do it.


Hope this helps! :)


Warm regards,


Rhana


1 person likes this

Hey Rhana,


Thanks for your reply and also to Brent for his time.


I get that it's possible to whitelist, and that's great, but the question is more why block anything that is opt-in in the first place when a user has explicitly expressed a desire to have that website/piece of code working?


I can see why it is a minor consideration for the team, because ethical mining is scarce at the moment. My concern is that there could potentially be a future in this as a concept, but if even the most ethical of implementations are shunned and difficult for the end-user (having to whitelist or add exceptions in the Chrome developer tools) then really there will be no possibility of it becoming a viable income for websites to supplement that of the revenue from Acceptable Ads.


Thanks again for your time.

Hi Oliver,


That's a valid point. I think you're right about the reason "block everything to do with mining" is still the default. "Ethical mining" is almost an oxymoron right now. Maybe that will change if opt-in miners prove their good intentions by never abusing users' trust.


Of course, there are other considerations than trust when it comes to whether cryptocurrency mining is a viable alternative to ads for funding the web. The electricity required may eventually rule it out, simply because we don't know how to build a Dyson sphere yet. :D


Warm regards,


Rhana

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