Thoughts on Privacy and Ethics

Website Cryptocurrency Mining

Thoughts on Privacy and Ethics

August 20, 2017 Announcements News 0

The overall response from our marketing efforts has been overwhelmingly positive. We did receive one poetically written comment on a Facebook post ad which between the lines raised concerns about data privacy and the ethics behind running mining code on visitors browsers. I’d like to address both below points below in case anyone else shares the concerns.

Data Privacy

It is not possible for us to steal bank details or spy on visitors through their webcams even if we wanted to. This is the stuff of Hollywood movies and is just not technically possible with javascript embeded code. We do collect data from visitors but this is standard web analytics type stuff which is the same for most sites on the internet.

The data we collect from the mining script is:

  • pubid – publisher id for who sent the traffic
  • siteid – site id which is the domain name of the site
  • userip – ip address of the user
  • useragent – this is the browser useragent string which identifies the browser i.e. Chrome/Firefox/Safari
  • os – operating system
  • referrer – this is the referrer string which contains the url of the site sending traffic.

We also store cookies and use the localStorage API as most other sites across the web do.

This list is complete and current as of 20th August 2018 however it may change in the future. Things such as average hash rate and max hash rate would be useful to log to help optimize the mining code for different devices.

Ethics

Cryptocurrency mining has a reputation for being resource intensive due to the coin miners of the past who used overclocked cpu and gpu devices before asic rigs became popular and server farms took over. Miners would push their systems to the extreme and semi-dangerous levels to squeeze out every last piece of performance. This is a direct contrast to our unobtrusive code which uses background spare resources as they become available. Our publisher mining system is built with the key purpose of not affecting user experience or deteriorating the page load speed of the website loading the code.

The mining code is less resource intensive than a web page loading a video ad for example.

The hash rate is flexible which means it goes up and down depending on the computing power available to the browser. Code is going to be run whenever a website visitor goes on a web page. Whether that be site content, advertising, menus, analytics or mining operations. I believe most visitors would prefer background mining to banner advertising or interstitial advert pages for example.

We do inform users before the mining starts with a privacy pop up which contains a link to opt-out of mining across the entire network. If  a user decides to opt-out their computer will store that preference and mining will not run in the future whenever they visit the website.

I read recently about a bitcoin mining operation in China which was spending $40,000 USD a day on electricity to mine bitcoin. This was at wholesale prices and just one operation. I will do some research into the energy consumption of the entire bitcoin network at some point. JSEcoin uses excess computing power which is not being utilized by the average website. Electrical usage is minuscule as the devices are already turned on and the screen will be using significantly more power than the additional CPU calculations of the hashing algorithm.

Ethically I think we can make a strong argument for JSEcoin being superior to other cryptocurrencies.