Coin hive is an innovative platform for monetizing websites. Instead of relying on ad revenue, a webmaster can implement a java script cryptocurrency miner into the page so that visitors provide computing power toward supporting the site.
How mining works:
To put it simply, mining is a process of converting electricity into virtual currencies that can be exchanged for real currency. When mining, your computer solves cryptographic hash functions over and over, trying to find a solution that fits the rules of the currency that is being mined. When a hash that fits the rules is found, new currency is generated and given to the miner who found the hash. A mining pool consists of lots of miners calculating hashes and submitting them to the pool as fast as they can, eventually a valid hash is found and the pool receives the new coins and shares them with the miners who contributed based on how much they contributed.
Coin hive has created a miner written in java script that connects to a mining pool. A pool is a place where miners work together to try to find more blocks of currency and share the earnings between everyone who provided computing power.
Why this works:
With the Coin hive miner, every visitor to your website will provide some level of computing power toward a mining pool and Coin hive then shares the earnings with the webmasters who have implemented the miner into their websites. Using this method, a webmaster can abandon ad based revenue streams in favor of a crypto currency based revenue stream.
There is already some heated discussion about websites using this method as a revenue stream because most of the users are adding it to their site and leaving ads in place, creating an additional revenue stream that effects every visitor. Sites like mine have removed ads and will rely on the miner as a sole source of revenue while still giving the visitor an option to stop the miner and not support the site.
My implementation of the coin-hive miner is very low impact and you may not have noticed it running at all unless you are not watching your CPU usage or if you are using a very old computer. In fact, a lot of newer computers would not be impacted if the support level in the widget were at 5 stars.
Isn’t this really invasive?
A lot of people do consider it invasive for a website to use a crypto miner on the visitors computer without any sort of notification. I think that is invasive as well. However, I do not think that it is nearly as invasive as the tracking that ad providers use to profile website visitors. I think that it is pretty invasive to have little to no say on which ads are shown on my website when people visit.
Some websites, the ones who are adding this technology without removing ads or providing the visitor with any notification that they are contributing in this manner are ruining it for the rest of us. The uBlock Origin extension that I recommend to everyone has already silently blocked crypto miners due to the automatic opt-in procedure that visitors are subjected to.
Is it effective?
Absolutely! When you run advertisements on a website you get paid per click or per million views. Some ad clicks are worth more than others and it is up to the ad provider to decide which sites get the high impact ads and which get the low impact ads. The goal of ad providers is to display the right ad to the people who will most likely click on it but there is a lot of other stuff that goes on in the background. A site like this one, that barely gets 20 views per day, takes a looooooong time to reach a payout from just about any ad provider.
This crypto miner lets the site capitalize on content. If I get one reader who is genuinely interested in the rubbish that I post then he will contribute more mining time to coin hive and a well written article will earn more from a single visitor than any ad would.
This is a killer app for cryptocurrencies. It provides the block chain with needed resources, it provides webmasters with a good way to monetize their website (despite some of them being assholes about it). The impact to the visitor can be low enough to be unnoticed.
The downsides are that as this gains traction it will become less and less profitable due to the nature of block chains. The more people mining on a block chain, the more difficult it becomes to find that magic hash. Mining is not a very green technology, it uses up electricity by making your CPU work harder so the more this is done the more energy will be used across the world which will be a net loss for humanity.
All in all, I think it is a great way to monetize a website for now and it is really building exposure for cryptocurrencies, even though most of it is bad. Hopefully the miner on this site can provide a good example for other people to use and hopefully you decide to give it a few more stars and let it sit for a while 🙂