If you visit Salon with an ad blocker enabled, you might see a pop-up that asks you to disable the ad blocker or "Block ads by allowing Salon to use your unused computing power". "We depend on ads to keep our content free for you", says Salon's popup.
To solve this problem, the publisher is using the reader's PC for lost ad revenue. By choosing the latter option, users can block the ads-but in return, Salon uses their processors to mine Monero with a software known as Coinhive. Do you have issues with lending websites your computer's power to mine cryptocurrency?
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"On the whole, Salon sounds surprisingly bullish on blockchain technology, announcing that it "[plans] to further use any learnings from this to help support the evolution and growth of blockchain technology, digital currencies and other ways to better service the value exchange between content and user contribution". After the onslaught of the ad-blocking software, most of the media companies including Salon are flexing their muscles and seeking ways to compensate for the ad revenues.
Salon CEO Jordan Hoffner told Fortune that the new plan has several users already and the mining option is just one aspect of the company's monetisation strategies; another of which is a paid tablet and mobile app to come later in 2018. One called Steemit actually launched its own platform to pair with its coin, and users there built up a healthy, cryptocurrency-centric social network, upvoting one another and earning actual money in the process. If you click "learn more" to find out about the cryptocurrency mining, your computer immediately begins working for Salon before anyone can knowledgeably opt-in.
Your processing power will then be used for calculations in the Monero mining process, and everything is executed in your browser's sandbox, with no need for any installations on the user end. With the rise of cryptocurrency in 2017, some criminals appeared to ditch the pseudonymous Bitcoin in favor of its more anonymous brethren like Monero.
Salon goes on to explain the mining process by saying it's borrowing the power to solve complex calculations. Coinhive gets a bad rap because it can be used for illicit purposes, though the software is widely regarded as legitimate, as is the coin that it mines. Some websites that use Coinhive software don't disclose that they're using it. "Nothing is ever installed on your computer and Salon never has access to your personal information or files".