What’s behind the browser giant’s recent actions

We are writing this article to make it clear for everybody that it’s not enough to read the headlines and that it’s advisory to find out about the background of certain events and news.

A recent good example is Google.

Following Google’s mid-March announcement that they would no longer accept crypto-related ads, just a few hours ago another announcement appeared that Google would ban certain crypto-currency extensions on its Chrome browser. Now, many of those who read headlines like that think that the whole world is turning against crypto-currencies and the skeptics were right.

For those, who know why Google made their seemingly “anti-crypto” decisions, what we are explaining here is obvious and needs no explanation. But for those, who haven’t dealt with the reasons that are, by the way, simple and logical, let’s devote a few minutes to Google’s recent decisions.


HEADLINE #1: Google is banning crypto-currencies.

The brief headline sounds quite negative. The longer version is less negative: Google will no longer accept ads for crypto and related content including coin offerings. Google, similarly to Facebook’s ban on all ads promoting crypto-currencies, decided to ban certain ads in order to prevent the promotion of “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices”. In other words, the ad section was flooded by fraudulent offers, threatening naïve users with potential financial damage.

“We’ve seen enough consumer harm, or potential for consumer harm, that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution,” said Scott Spencer, Google’s director of sustainable ads.


HEADLINE #2: Google bans browser crypto mining

Now, some of us don’t even know what it refers to, so what we may understand, or misunderstand, from a headline like this is that Google is against crypto mining, so something must be fundamentally wrong with coin mining.

In order to clearly see what we are talking about, let’s take a closer look at the news. Google is banning only those Chrome browser extensions that secretly mine crypto-currency. Previously currency-mining extensions were allowed in the Chrome Web Store. There was one basic condition that the extension owner had to meet: The users had to be informed about such mining activities, that is whatever the extension was doing to the user’s computer it could not be going without the user knowing about it. However, Google has discovered that not less than 90% of the cases extension owners don’t follow this policy. The result is what they refer to nowadays as ‘cryptojacking’, which means that the secret extension activity drains the CPU power of the user’s computer, almost unnoticeably.

Google explains that the ban, which will come into effect in July, is a “step forward in ensuring that Chrome users can enjoy the benefits of extensions without exposing themselves to hidden risks”.

There are negative news every once in a while, too, obviously. But this is a good example perhaps that it’s worth taking a closer look because it may turn out that what, on the surface, seems to be AGAINST crypto-currencies, is actually FOR us, users, and serves our interests.




Zsolt Balló