Crypto Mining Apps Are Still on Google's Play Store, Despite Recent Ban

Omar Faridi
  • Several crypo mining apps are still downloadable on Google's Play Store, even after their recent ban.
  • Security experts have stated mining crypto from smartphones can physically damage mobile devices.

Google recently banned all cryptocurrency mining software from its Play Store. However, this wasn't enough to stop companies from developing and sharing their mobile mining apps on the app store, according to Hard Fork.

JSECoin, a UK-based blockchain firm that creates crypto mining software for web browsers, released one of its apps on the Play Store after Google’s ban had been announced. JSEcoin’s app lets users mine digital currency remotely, meaning that people can manage their crypto mining activity from their smartphones.

Although the new mining app violated the search engine’s updated privacy policy, it still made its way to Google’s Play Store. John Sim, co-founder of JSECoin, confirmed that the company’s app was letting users mine cryptocurrency from their smartphones while speaking to the news outlet.

Google's Updated Privacy Policies

Sim was quoted as saying: “that is correct. We have additionally reached out to the Google Support team to confirm if we are allowed to allow our users to mine our tokens via our official app – as we are aware of their restriction policy.”

When Google was contacted regarding its new restrictions on crypto mining apps, the tech firm’s representative said, 

“We regularly update our developer policies, in accordance with current best-practices, to maintain a safe and positive experience for developers and consumers on Google Play.”

Google's representative

Notably, soon after the spokesperson clarified Google’s updated privacy policy against crypto miners, the JSEcoin app appeared to have been removed from its Play Store. In response to the app’s removal, Sim noted that, “Unfortunately even with low power [or low] CPU consumption use, we are not allowed to enable mining.”

According to Sim, Google had sent him a message stating that crypto mining apps will no longer be allowed on the Play Store. He added that JSEcoin would follow up with the search engine service provider to see what options were available. In the meantime, Sim revealed his company introduced a different version of its app to Google’s Play Store, which doesn’t let users mine cryptocurrencies from their mobile devices.

While Google may have removed JSEcoin’s smartphone mining app, Sim claimed to have found “another unofficial JSEcoin mining app” on the Play Store. He also said the app had been featured there for most of this year and the search engine giant had not taken any action against it.

Notably, Sim revealed JSEcoin didn't develop the unofficial app. It’s unclear whether it lets users mine crypto directly from their smartphones. Howevr, these aren't only downloadable mining software that has recently been found on Google’s Play Store.

Crypto Mining Apps Still Available

MinerGate, a much more popular crypto mining app, has been on the Play Store for over a year and has been downloaded over 1,000,000 times. The MinerGate app also allows users to mine privacy-oriented Monero (XMR) and other CPU-friendly coins directly from their mobile devices.

In addition to MinerGate, there appear to be several other crypto mining apps available on the app store, including Free BCH Miner, Bitcoin Miner, Crypto Miner Pro, and NeoNeonMIner.

Cybersecurity researcher Troy Mursch commented on the damaging effects smartphones  used to mine cryptocurrencies often endure. He said:

“mobile devices are not designed, nor optimized to mine cryptocurrency. If you leave a mobile device plugged in while mining cryptocurrency unthrottled, there is a legitimate risk it could lead to physical damage.”

Troy Mursch

In response to why crypto mining apps are still downloadable from its Play Store, Google has now said developers will be given 30 days to make sure their apps comply with the the company’s new privacy policies.