Salon magazine asks readers with ad-blockers to mine for cryptocurrency

Salon wants use visitors' CPU power to mine crypto in exchange for an ad-free visit

"For our beta program, we'll start by applying your processing power to mine cryptocurrencies to recoup lost ad revenue when you use an ad blocker".

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.

The publication's mining efforts are powered by Coinhive, a JavaScript library that can be used by websites for mining Moreno.

But Salon added: "ad-blockers cut deeply into our revenue".

By roping in users' computers to mine Monero, a privacy-focused cryptocurrency now worth around $240 per coin on digital currency exchanges, the publication seeks to encourage users who want to avoid seeing ads to instead subsidise the site's work with their personal computers' spare processing power.

Ad-blocking users who visit Salon's site will be asked to either turn off their ad-blocker, or "suppress ads".

The miner employed by Salon is developed by software firm Coinhive and it's directed to mine Monero for the media company. In a tweet, he says that Salon is lying about having unused power.

Through no fault of it's developers Monero has become the currency of choice for some criminals who dropped Bitcoin during it's meteroic rise during 2017. "This includes forums, small community sites where users happily give something back and, of course, porn sites", a Coinhive representative said in an email.

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There's no word on exactly how much spare computing power will be sucked up. While Salon's mining might not lock your computer up, I still wouldn't want it running in the background, especially if I were away from a power outlet.

Salon provides ways to opt out - by turning off ad blockers or using its ad-free paid service.

We're not going to get into the ethical issues of coin-mining versus ad blocking, because we don't have the answers.

Hotness is very literal in this case, by the way, because any time you visit Salon from now on, your CPU will be used to mine cryptocurrency on their behalf.

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.

Salon notes that ads allow the site to make money from readers without requiring them to pay for subscriptions. "We depend on ads to keep our content free for you", says Salon's popup.

The company noted that ad blockers have further diminished revenue streams and created a "more one-sided relationship between reader and publisher". "The principle behind this is that your readership has value both to us and to our advertisers", Salon said in a FAQ on the test program.

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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