Blockchain and Crypto

Salon to ad-block users: Let us use your computers to mine cryptocurrency (really)

  • Salon Media Group has become the first publisher to add cryptocurrency to its sources of revenue
  • Salon's move will only apply to a small share of its total audience but the publisher said it sees cryptocurrency mining as a serious source of revenue in the long term
close

Email a Friend

Salon to ad-block users: Let us use your computers to mine cryptocurrency (really)

Give Salon points for novelty. On Feb. 12, Salon added an unusual proposition to the message it greets ad-blocking site visitors with: Either whitelist us, or let us use your computer’s spare processing power to mine cryptocurrency instead.

Those who grant Salon consent then have Coinhive, a piece of software that uses JavaScript to commandeer users’ computer processors, launch on their computers or phones. The software then uses that computing power to solve complex math problems, the process required to produce more of a cryptocurrency called Monero.

Though Salon’s move will only apply to a small share of its total audience — around a quarter of its audience has ad blockers turned on — the publisher said it sees cryptocurrency mining as a serious source of revenue in the long term.

“This is not a farce,” Salon Media Group CEO Jordan Hoffner said. “We were intent on being the first media company to make this part of our monetization strategy.”


Users that try Salon’s mining beta are asked a second time to provide consent before their computer’s processors are used.

According to Hoffner, Salon’s development team had been kicking around the idea internally for months before it first became aware of Coinhive. Hoffner, a former Google executive, said he spent two years studying blockchain and cryptocurrency and thinking about how it fits into digital media, a question that many have been turning over in their minds.

Salon was a pioneer in digital publishing, but has shrunk to become a small company. In the last nine months of 2017, it reported just $3.9 million in revenue.

Immediate reaction to Salon’s move has been mixed. Some cryptocurrency watchers saw the idea as intriguing. “If this caught on, it would represent a major disruption to the mining industry,” said Preston Byrne, the founder of blockchain client Monax and a fellow at the Adam Smith Institute. “It would mean you could produce large mining farms simply by producing good content.”

Others were less enthusiastic. Salon will have to hope users don’t confuse its proposition with bad news Coinhive has faced recently, after bad actors worked its script into popular browser plugins, porn sites and digital advertisements, which did not require user consent.

Hoffner, for his part, sees the move as a way to gather more information about how to best pursue this strategy. “Right now, this is a ‘better than nothing strategy,'” he said. “But down the line, we will get there. We just need more information to build the product.”

0 comments on “Salon to ad-block users: Let us use your computers to mine cryptocurrency (really)”

Blockchain and Crypto, Member Exclusive

Bankchain Briefing: What can we learn from the Celsius withdrawal freeze?

  • This week, we try to make sense of the Celsius withdrawal freeze and discuss its implications for investors and the wider industry.
  • We also hear from Zero Hash co-founder Edward Woodford on the convergence of DeFi and TradFi.
Ismail Umar | June 28, 2022
Blockchain and Crypto

‘The deeper the liquidity pools, the more quickly we can get to value in crypto’: Ripple’s Brooks Entwistle

  • What's preventing crypto from going mainstream?
  • Before mass adoption becomes reality, the crypto industry must address specific stumbling blocks to provide people with the security they are in quest of.
Sara Khairi | June 15, 2022
Blockchain and Crypto

‘Every financial firm will become a crypto firm’: Zero Hash co-founder Edward Woodford on the convergence of DeFi and TradFi

  • A growing number of financial firms are starting to launch crypto products.
  • Zero Hash co-founder Edward Woodford shares how his clients think about crypto, and how the expectations and behaviors of their end consumers are evolving.
Ismail Umar | June 13, 2022
Blockchain and Crypto

Advocating for digital assets is growing as new regulation looms large

  • Global Digital Finance, the biggest digital assets and blockchain association in the world, engages regulators and policy makers to promote digital finance.
  • While crypto will be more regulated, the industry is nervous about a lack of consideration for its unique position relative to traditional finance.
Subboh Jaffery | June 09, 2022
Blockchain and Crypto, Member Exclusive

The 4 stage product life cycle of crypto funds

  • Investment Vehicles like GBTC and ETHE are struggling to become ETFs.
  • In the absence of acceptance as an ETF, Grayscale offers a unique 4 Stage Product Life Cycle for Crypto Funds, that increases accessibility at every stage.
Rabab Ahsan | June 08, 2022
More Articles