The Pirate Bay is Browser Mining Once Again
Last September, it was revealed that The Pirate Bay had started to use a Monero crypto-miner on its site without telling its users or giving them a choice to opt-in (or out) of the CPU-slurping operation.
The process of browser-mining involves using a PC’s processing power to crunch the equations needed to generate or mine cryptocurrency coins, like Bitcoin or Monero. Unsurprisingly, this can absorb a lot of processing power and cause chips to get pretty hot.
Users of The Pirate Bay weren’t impressed and got pretty outraged. Those that didn’t mind the site’s use of crypto-miners to generate website income outside of advertising were still upset on the way The Pirate Bay went about all of it.
As such, the torrenting site shut-off the miner. But a month later it had resurfaced and The Pirate Bay appeared hazy on how it would conduct crypto-mining and whether its users would have a chance to opt out.
Turns out, The Pirate Bay doesn’t care about its users as TorrentFreakreports that the website is sailing ahead with its mining operations, without notifying users about the presence of mining script on its website.
“Shame we aren’t asked if we want to run it, it could damage my CPU if I leave it open and walked away from my PC for a couple hours due to very old thermal paste that needs replacing.” said a mildly-disgruntled user on The Pirate Bay-orientated Supr bay forum.
In its current form, the miner the website is using is reportedly throttled compared to its previous iterations, which could mean it’s not as noticeable and therefore less intrusive than the previous.
My advise. Get an add blocker or use the Brave browser like i do.
Electroneum Hard Forks – Brings ASIC’s Back
The Electroneum network is a fork from Monero and removed many of its privacy features which. CEO and founder of Electroneum Richard Ells stated in the company’s Telegram group that the team decided to take action as soon as possible and re-introduce ASIC miners, this way reversing a fork that had integrated ASIC-resistant code at the end of May.
“Being an anti-establishment coin won’t get us anywhere; we’re a cryptocurrency that needs to work with the operators and regulators to roll-out our services,” Ells said.
Electroneum initially wanted that its consensus model would become GPU-based in order to make it both accessible and less prone to cyber attacks. After the fork, things did not go as expected and the network failed to attract enough GPU-miners for the network to run efficiently.
“The GPU community convinced us to go anti-ASIC, but when we did this, the GPU miners left in droves, which made the network less profitable for them and less secure for our users and us.”
Electroneum Fork’s effects
ASICs have centralized Bitcoin’s consensus protocol, and three mining pools have 48% of BTC’s hashrate this week. There’s been enhanced concern about whether Bitmain, which designs and uses its very own ASICs could eventually attack Bitcoin.
Ells was asked whether bringing back ASICs would put Electroneum in danger of a consensus attack and responded that “When we banned ASICs, Electroneum became vulnerable to attack,” he stated. “From a rate of approximately two giga-hashes, we ended up with 30 mega-hashes just yesterday. We calculated that if a malicious agent used a cloud-mining site like NiceHash, they could successfully stage a 51% attack for as little as $3,000”.
Ells also argued that re-introducing ASICs would not make mining on the network inaccessible for users.
Bitcoin Gold Launches a New Mining Algorithm
Bitcoin Gold, has upgraded its network with the help of a hard fork on the 5,36,200 BTG block. The upgrade has resulted in a change of the mining algorithm for BTG. The algorithm has changed from Equihash to an upgraded version of the algorithm which is named as Equihash-BTG. The upgrade is a strategy to introduce a layer of ASIC-resistance in order to keep ASICs away from the network. This upgrade will also prevent any attempt at centralizing the BTG mining.
So far it is claimed to be successful, but it might result in ASIC manufacturers accepting the new Equihash-BTG algorithms and thus, moving into the future.
Bitcoin Gold is a distributed digital currency, which is a hard fork of Bitcoin, the open source cryptocurrency. Its purpose is to restore the mining functionality with common Graphics Processing Units (GPU), in place of mining with specialized ASIC (customized chipsets) which are used to mine Bitcoin.
An ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) is a microchip designed for a special application. In the case of cryptocurrency mining, these chips are built into specifically-designed motherboards and power supplies, constructed into a single unit. Each cryptocurrency has its own cryptographic hash algorithm. ASIC miners are designed to mine using that specific algorithm.
Bitcoin Gold has experienced a 51% attack in May as a result of rented hash power consisting of ASIC miners.
The new algorithm that has been created ensures that there is no rental market for Equihash-BTG miners and hence the upgraded blockchain is more secure. Not only this, BTG Blockchain is more responsive to large hash power shifts because of the presence of difficulty adjustment system called as LWMA.
Many coins perform hard forks to prevent ASIC miners from working on their systems as ASIC miners are purpose-made and built for a very specific algorithm. Updating the algorithm is a step towards countering the ASIC miners and preventing them from working.
ASIC miners comprise a large part of the Equihash rate. Anti-ASIC forks can’t be a permanent solution, but just a temporary one to shake-off ASIC miners by buying almost five to six months of ASIC resistance. Bitcoin Gold has lost 90% hash rate after the announcement of the Anti-ASIC Hard Fork.
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