Salon's Monero mining project might be insane like a fox

Salon asks ad-blocking visitors to mine cryptocurrency

If a reader chooses to block its advertising, United States publication Salon will use that person's computer to mine for Monero, a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin.

Media company Salon.com is asking readers to allow them to use their computers to mine cryptocurrencies as a new source of revenue.

"Ad-blockers cut deeply into our revenue and create a more one-sided relationships between reader and publisher", said Salon.

The offering is a clever if controversial way to recoup lost ad revenue. "Indeed, your computer itself can support our ability to pay our editors and journalists". Now, online magazine Salon is using Coinhive's tool in a similar way, but it's giving visitors an option: turn off your adblockers or let the site utilize your spare computing power to run a miner.

But instead of capturing value through readers' eyeballs alone, Salon determined that it can harness the computing power of its audience to monetize its platform. There after we will ask you again to opt-in. It was a bold scheme, and even affected a number of U.S. and United Kingdom government sites, but not a particularly successful one - it was stopped swiftly, and the total take, according to Coinhive, the service for mining cryptocurrency in a web browser that the hackers used, was the equivalent of just $24. Like Salon's proposition, some other projects, including Siacoin and MaidSafeCoin, seek to pay people for spare computing cycles or hard drive space. "Should you begin a process that requires more of your computer's resources, we automatically reduce the amount we are using for calculations", the explanation added.

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While Monero will be the first cryptocurrency to be involved in the plan, Hoffner said Salon is planning to build a portfolio of digital coins. While the concpet behind Coinhive is potentially beneficial for companies using it openly the software often makes the news as hackers use the program to mine cryptocurrency on computers of the unsuspecting.

Making money out of online publishing can be a tricky process.

For the most part, using browsers to mine cryptocurrency has remained the purview of criminals, scammers and other grey-market players.

Salon CEO Jordan Hoffner told Fortune that the new plan has several users already and the mining option is just one aspect of the company's monetisation strategies; another of which is a paid tablet and mobile app to come later in 2018. When you close Salon.com in your browser, the process stops.

Monero recently made headlines when Coinhive malware schemes hit thousands of websites, including government addresses. "Nothing is ever installed on your computer and Salon never has access to your personal information or files".

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