by Jamie Holmes
Most internet sites generate revenue through advertising. But when you run a pirate website and provide access to films and a whole host of other copyrighted media to the masses, advertising is not a suitable source of revenue. The Pirate Bay has tested an ingenious solution to help keep the website afloat; ‘borrowing’ user’s CPU to mine cryptocurrency, specifically monero, while they browse the site.
Torrent Freak revealed that The Pirate Bay stated the feature was under testing for 24 hours as part of a trial for new ways of generating income. The Pirate Bay even revealed that it might be profitable enough to replace ads forever. The trial run occurred on September 16, and ‘pirates’ have long been associated with cryptocurrency, especially bitcoin. The Pirate Bay, founded by BitTorrent operators, become one of the first adopters of bitcoin by accepting it as a payment method in April 2013.
The rising popularity of monero and its privacy-focus means that it is also increasingly favored by bots that infect computers to mine the cryptocurrency. For instance, it is not just the Pirate Bay using other computers to mine monero, where reports indicate a botnet, known as ‘Bond007.01,’ has been causing havoc in China and earned hackers around $25,000 per month. The scheme has stolen the computing power of 15,000 computers, with the XMR gained as a result pure profit.
While many users expressed their dissatisfaction with the Pirate Bay’s new way of trying to earn some money, a response explained that there was an error with the initial configuration, using the entire CPU of a client instead of around one quarter:
Cryptocurrencies are offering a broad range of income earning opportunities. The Pirate Bay’s idea is an extension of the concept that people can use their computing power to contribute to the folding project, as exemplified by Gridcoin. Instead of helping out some scientists, you are helping pirates keep their website afloat.
Businesses have thought of using idle computing power at nighttime or out of work hours to mine cryptocurrencies such as monero. Universities could use their well-equipped libraries and PC labs to mine altcoins while students are on holidays. Now that Pirate Bay moves toward mining monero to act as a suitable replacement for internet advertising, hopefully, it can show that for websites, there is another way.