Salon Asks Ad Blocking Users To Opt Into Cryptocurrency Mining Instead

Media outlet Salon is testing an alternative to advertising: mining cryptocurrency through readers’ computers. If you visit the site with an ad-blocker turned on, you might see a prompt to either disable the blocker or choose a “suppress ads” option, as reported today by >Financial Times and confirmed by The Verge. According to FT, the latter choice will let Salon put your unused computing power toward mining the cryptocurrency Monero, using a JavaScript-based mining tool from Coinhive.

Other sites have used cryptocurrency mining in lieu of (or in addition to) advertising. Sometimes, it’s done surreptitiously without users’ consent — >The Pirate Bay admitted to secretly adding Coinhive integration last year, and hackers have planted mining malware on other sites. In this case, it’s an opt-in program; a spokesperson tells FT that testing started on Monday.

Cryptocurrency mining scripts can negatively affect system performance, since they’re running intensive calculations as you browse the web. But they also offer a way to recoup lost ad revenue without resorting to paywalls — something that sites like The Atlantichave done for visitors who are running ad-blocking software.

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