Over the last week, we’ve reported on Calendar 2, an app from Qbix that seemingly added cryptocurrency mining as an alternative to paying for premium features. Qbix itself acknowledged issues with the model and Apple said such practices are not allowed in the Mac App Store, but that almost certainly won’t stop developers outside of the Mac App Store from doing it.
Would you be willing to let an app mine cryptocurrency in the background in exchange for premium features?
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For developers, it remains to be seen how sustainable such a revenue model is. Qbix CEO Greg Magarshak told us in a statement that Calendar 2 earned around $2,000 worth of the cryptocurrency Monero during the three-day period that mining was live, but how that compares to normal revenue is unclear.
Of course, another major issue with cryptocurrency mining is the energy usage – and it’s an issue that should be taken seriously. Wired published a great piece in December outlining how cryptocurrency mining is affecting the power grid:
The total energy use of this web of hardware is huge—an estimated 31 terawatt-hours per year. More than 150 individual countries in the world consume less energy annually. And that power-hungry network is currently increasing its energy use every day by about 450 gigawatt-hours, roughly the same amount of electricity the entire country of Haiti uses in a year.
That sort of electricity use is pulling energy from grids all over the world, where it could be charging electric vehicles and powering homes, to bitcoin-mining farms. In Venezuela, where rampant hyperinflation and subsidized electricity has led to a boom in bitcoin mining, rogue operations are now occasionally causing blackouts across the country.
For its part, Apple removed Calendar 2 from the App Store for violating guideline 2.4.2, which says apps should be designed to power efficient and not generate excessive heat or put a strain on device resources:
Design your app to use power efficiently. Apps should not rapidly drain battery, generate excessive heat, or put unnecessary strain on device resources.
However, as we all know, the Mac App Store isn’t the only place to get applications for your Mac and third-party developers are almost certainly implementing such capabilities into their apps right now, if they haven’t already.
Personally, I’m firmly against the idea of letting an app mine cryptocurrency in exchange for free premium features. For one, I’d prefer to know what resources of my Mac are being used at all times, and I don’t necessarily trust that applications will always be as efficient as possible in the mining process. Furthermore, I fear the consequences increased cryptocurrency mining will have on our energy grid.
What about you? Would you be willing to let an app mine cryptocurrency on your machine? Do you know of any apps already offering this? Let us know down in the comments.