“We don't allow apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices. We permit apps that remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency.”
Multiple crypto mining apps have been available on the Google Play Store, such as MinerGate and Crypto Miner. The deadline for the implementation of the ban is currently unclear – it took close to two months to put the ban on crypto mining browser extensions (which was announced in April this year) into effect.
Google’s move comes after a similar ban was imposed by its competitor Apple last month; the iPhone maker announced in June that it no longer allows apps that mine cryptocurrencies (with the exception of those that do not do so directly on the device).
A variety of incidents have been reported regarding crypto mining malware infecting Android devices; seemingly harmless apps containing mining scripts such as Coinhive ‘cryptojack’ phones by surreptitiously mining cryptocurrencies in the background, which in turn has a detrimental impact on the speed, battery, and overall performance of the device.
Recent studies have also revealed that crypto mining malware attacks have risen in frequency, displacing ransomware; Google’s move is designed to protect users from falling prey to such attacks.
In addition to its ban on crypto mining apps, Google’s new updated policies also ban apps that “appeal to children but contain adult themes” as well as those that “facilitate the sale of explosives, firearms, ammunition, or certain firearms accessories”. Repetitive content, apps that serve ads, and those that are intentionally misleading have also been banned.