In short: Blockchain pioneers are largely unconcerned about Google’s recent decision to ban cryptocurrency mining Android apps from the Play Store, even though some believe the move may be somewhat detrimental to the industry as a whole. Eiland Glover, CEO of mineable “stablecoin” startup Kowala, and Rong Chen, CEO of “Smart Web” project Elastos, told AndroidHeadlines their products should be entirely unaffected by the development and expressed confidence in the industry’s ability to continue churning along in spite of the ban. Though short-term ramifications are unlikely, Google’s decision to eliminate every type of local cryptocurrency mining apps from the Play Store may still “prevent innovation in the medium term,” Mr. Glover said.
Mr. Chen called the ban unconcerning because smartphones make for poor mining devices anyway so relying on them to generate cryptocurrency gains was far from an efficient strategy in the first place. Companies that still pursued such solutions will now have to focus on consumer-facing services or shut down but ultimately, “any project should be able to deploy their apps on any app store” because protecting one’s users is everyone’s priority, the industry veteran concluded.
Background: Google introduced its ban on crypto mining Android apps in late July, having done so in a highly discreet manner – with a simple update to its developer policies. While the firm was slow to remove existing mining apps from the Play Store, all popular solutions have been pulled from the marketplace as of mid-October and most remaining ones aren’t in violation of the new policy even though they’re advertised as miners; namely, Google only banned apps that utilize local resources to mine cryptocurrency but those used for cloud mining are still fair game.
The company did not go into any significant details on why it went through with the decision, though the move was in line with its established way of handling third-party blockchain technologies, particularly those revolving around cryptocurrencies. Earlier this year, the firm banned cryptocurrency exchange advertising from its digital platform, though went back on the decision in late September; as of this months, crypto exchanges in the United States and Japan can once again advertise through the company’s gigantic network, albeit subject to strict regulations. This spring, the firm also started cracking down on cryptocurrency-related Chrome extensions, with industry watchers speculating the move was prompted by the sheer volume of shady initial coin offerings, many of which proved to be scams.
Impact: The removal of crypto mining Android apps from the Play Store marks yet another step in the inconsistent relationship Google has had with the world of blockchain over the last several years. While it’s only been three months since co-founder Sergey Brin expressed regret the firm did not jump on the blockchain bandwagon quickly enough and numerous reports suggest it has been pursuing first-party projects based on digital ledgers for several years already, its stance on third-party apps and services centered on blockchain that are looking for users within its vast ecosystem has been changing on an almost monthly basis.