Salon Finds A Novel Workaround For Lost Ad Revenue: Cryptocurrency Mining

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Starting Sunday, Salon began asking its readers that use ad-blockers to turn over spare computing power in a bid to mine a cryptocurrency known as Monero.

According to the Financial Times, the system will be powered by Coinhive, which uses a program that runs in the user's web browser to mine monero, a cryptocurrency with an emphasis on privacy and untraceability.

Monero recently made headlines when Coinhive malware schemes hit thousands of websites, including government addresses.

Salon has a new strategy of dealing with people who block ads on the website.

Salon, a popular progressive website, has introduced a new feature that harnesses the spare computing power of its reader's devices to mine cryptocurrency.

For our beta program, we'll start by applying your processing power to help support the evolution and growth of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

The BBC says that Salon has not been targeted by cyber criminals and that the USA publication asks its readers for permission before using the mining tool. Salon's own FAQ admits that the processing-hungry service is likely to fire up a computer's fans to dissipate extra heat, like a demanding video game. The Coinhive pop-up on Salon.com provides the option to cancel or allow the mining to occur for one browser session.

Its virtual currency of choice? But Salon said they will adjust how much processing power is being used by their crypto-miner. But in other cases, users have been unaware that Coinhive was being used on their systems.

As it clarified, if you choose to let Salon mine cryptocurrency, it will borrow unused processing power only when you browse on Salon.

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You'd be wrong to think, however, that Salon's cryptocurrency-mining activity won't have any impact on your computer.

"We noticed you're using an ad blocker".

Salon said the process only takes place when readers are on Salon.com, and the website will not gain access to readers' personal information or files.

The move comes as the online publishing model comes under increasing strain.

"Back in the 1990s, as now, Salon offered the common relationship of serving ads to its users in exchange for keeping most of our content free", Salon wrote.

We realize that specific technological developments [adblock and cryptocurrency mining] now mean that it is not merely the reader's eyeballs that have value to our site - it's also your computer's ability to make calculations, too.

The company noted that ad blockers have further diminished revenue streams and created a "more one-sided relationship between reader and publisher".

News organisations have tried many novel ways to make readers pay - but Salon seems to have come out with the most audacious, yet.

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