End of an era: Coinhive to Shut Down, No More Free Money for Crypto Hackers
As the world’s largest browser-based crypto-mining platform Coinhive announced its closure on last Tuesday, people realize that cryptojacking is not as profitable as they imagine in the bear market.
Coinhive debuted in September 2017 when Bitcoin gained much popularity. It allows website operators to use their visitor’s CPUs to mine the Monero (XMR) through embedded hijacking code and used to make billions of dollars through this infamy mining business in its heyday.
However, things changed as time goes. Coinhive decided to shut down its service from March 9 which disappointed hackers who loved it quite ardently. In the statement, Coinhive team explained:
The drop in hash rate (over 50%) after the last Monero hard fork hit us hard. So did the “crash” of the cryptocurrency market with the value of XMR depreciating over 85% within a year. This and the announced hard fork and algorithm update of the Monero network on March 9 has led us to the conclusion that we need to discontinue Coinhive.
Coinhive’s mainstream users are website operators and hackers. To the operators, the browser-based crypto-mining becomes an alternative revenue model for advertising. According to BlockBeats, over 30,000 websites have made a profit from crypto-mining. It was reported that for small websites that have 20 to 30 visitors per day could mine 0.3 XMP every day, and for the large website, for example, the Pirate Bay (TPB) can make thousands of dollars in a day.
Despite Coinhive demanded a 30-percent of earnings in return, it is still very attractive to the website operators as they could make money with zero cost. However, this kind of service can only be recognized as “legitimate” as long as the website has informed its users that their devices are being used in crypto mining. For example, The Pirate Bay was forced to remove Coinhive’s code from its site after visitors’ criticism
It was also reported that many universities in Shandong, Hubei, Henan and Heilongjiang provinces got hacked after the college entrance examination last year. Hackers used to hijacked students’ computer when they check their results.
Eventually, Coinhive’s domain was banned by ad-blocking browser add-ons and antivirus software, and the hard fork of Monero requires new cryptojacking code which cannot be afforded by Coinhive at this stage. The closure of Coinhive marks end of an era in cryptojacking.