Apps containing cryptocurrency miners are now banned from the Apple Store. The rules contained in a new policy update require developers to design apps to use power efficiently.
The update clearly targets crypto mining apps.
“Apps should not rapidly drain battery, generate excessive heat, or put unnecessary strain on device resources. Apps, including any third party advertisements displayed within them, may not run unrelated background processes, such as cryptocurrency mining,” part of the new rules states.
Cryptocurrency mining, the process of verifying transactions on a blockchain network involves solving complex mathematical problems which require immense computing power and therefore high energy consumption. The demands can quickly drain and easily damage a phone battery, a concern for phone makers like Apple.
“Apps may not mine for cryptocurrencies unless the processing is performed off device (e.g. cloud-based mining),” Apple says.
Cryptocurrency mining software is also banned from Google’s Chrome web store. The decision was taken after it was found that a good number of developers, as much as 90%, did not declare their presence. Crypto mining applications can significantly compromise a device’s performance and affect user experience.
Apple’s new policies were declared last week during a developers’ conference. Bitcoin mining hardware are purpose built with powerful graphic cards, specially designed motherboards and power supplies.
Mining is a competitive process. Miners have to run many calculations to find a specific number. The first to get it is rewarded with tokens. In the early years of the virtual currency, an ordinary bitcoin mining computer was adequate to do the job. A specialised bitcoin mining machine is now required to realise any profit.
Certain coins like Monero can still be mined on personal computers and phones. Rogue developers can therefore make a kill by deploying malicious cryptocurrency mining software on several personal devices like phones earning free money in the process.
A Symantec report indicated that this type of attacks had gone up a massive 8500% in the past one year. In the same period, ransonware attacks which were gaining popularity with hackers had declined, indicating the huge interest.
Other cryptocurrency Apps Still Allowed
Although cryptomining apps are now effectively shut from the app store, other crypto related apps such as wallets and exchanges such as Coinbase will be still be allowed. But even then, the tech giant has some new rules as well. Such applications must belong to established entities.
Regarding exchanges, “apps may facilitate transactions or transmissions of cryptocurrency on an approved exchange, provided they are offered by the exchange itself.”
This means that third-party apps are not eligible.
Apps that facilitate “initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency futures trading, and other crypto-securities or quasi-securities trading must come from established banks, securities firms, futures commission merchants (“FCM”), or other approved financial institutions and must comply with all applicable law.”
Apps must also not offer cryptocurrency for completing certain tasks such as downloading other apps or posting on social networks.
The new rules apply to other platforms such as MacOS and tvOS.