The promise of free cryptocurrency can be alluring. Numerous sites offer “free this” and “unlimited that” only for it to disappear in a poof of smoke when you least expect it.
The Google Play Store was full of apps and games promising free Bitcoins, or Android Bitcoin mining apps that multiply your earnings. That can’t be true, right? Let’s take a look.
Is It Possible to Mine Free Bitcoins on Android?
The short answer: Yes.
The slightly longer answer: Yes, but why on Earth would you want to?
There are loads of Android Bitcoin mining apps that claim to mine unfathomable amounts of Bitcoin using just your mobile device. At most, you can devote a small amount of your smartphone’s laughable amount of computing power to a Bitcoin cloud mining pool. You end up contributing a portion of your phone’s power in exchange for a portion of the mining pool’s payout.
That’s assuming the mining pool even gets close to mining a Bitcoin AND that you’ve made enough of a power contribution to warrant receiving some cryptocurrency in return.
The long and the short of it is that your Android smartphone or tablet just isn’t powerful enough to mine Bitcoins. It isn’t even worth contributing to a mining pool once you factor in the amount of battery power required to keep the phone mining for long enough. And that’s without considering the physical wear and tear on the device or the potential for heat-related damage due to how intensive mining can be.
What if you use an older phone where you don’t care so much about wear and tear? You still lose out. Older phones have less computing power, so you stand even less of a chance of making any money at all.
Free Bitcoin Generators on Android
There’s a certain class of Android app that promises to “generate” Bitcoins for you. This is an outright scam. Anyone who claims they can magically produce coins out of thin air is lying. Chances are, your device will run at full speed and full temperature until it dies, and you’ll have nothing to show for it.
Run a quick web search and you’ll find all kinds of reports of mining apps that are nothing more than scrolling advertisement feeds and fancy random number generators.
Why Can’t I Mine Bitcoins Using Android?
Bitcoin mining is a computing resource-heavy operation. In the early days of bitcoin, when the difficulty level was low, and there were very people mining, you could open your aging laptop and mine for fun.
Those times are long since gone.
Bitcoin mining is now the domain of specialized ASIC hardware. ASICs mine harder and faster than your regular PC. They make your smartphone look like an infant’s flashing musical phone toy. ASICs dominate bitcoin mining, and mining pools are full of powerful ASIC miners trying to gain the edge over their competitors.
Can I Mine Any Cryptocurrency Using My Android?
In July 2018, Google took the step of banning cryptocurrency mining apps from the Google Play Store. The updated Google developer policy reads “We don’t allow apps that mine cryptocurrencies on devices.”
We don’t allow apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices. We permit apps that remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency.
You can still use your cloud mining apps on your Android device, and they will still feature in the Play Store. However, apps like MinerGate, Crypto Miner PRO, and NeoNeonMiner are obsolete.
The move brings the Google Play Store in-line with Apple’s App Store, which has banned cryptocurrency mining apps. It also follows on from Google banning cryptocurrency mining extensions for its Chrome browser, as many were cryptojacking scams, or worse.
To be honest, it isn’t a bad thing. Android devices weren’t made for mining cryptocurrencies. Even extremely small ones that use less power than bitcoin. The Google Play Store was filled with official app replicas hoping to scam people, while unsuspecting users found that apps would mine for cryptocurrency and then fail to payout at the end.
Crypto Scam Apps
That doesn’t mean the Google Play Store is clear of scam crypto apps, though. Security researchers at Fortinet found several apps on the Google Play Store promising to mine Ripple (XRP), Cardano (ADA), and Tether. For instance, the below image shows a fake Ripple Miner app:
But on closer inspection, the code reveals a few important things:
- On start, it creates a new thread.
- The app mining speed is completely fake. The numbers are randomized.
- More random numbers are then displayed.
- There is nothing within the app design that can mine Ripple.
Oh yeah, one more thing. Ripple’s design wouldn’t allow for such mining to take place, anyway. The developer obviously knew that, but forgot. Moving on, Fortinet examines the app withdrawal button. “At this point, you probably won’t be surprised that this withdrawal will not succeed.”
Selecting the withdrawal button presents two options:
- Yes. The app then complains that your address is invalid.
- No. The withdrawal window closes.
Again, given no mining actually takes place, there is nothing to withdraw.
The sole purpose of the app is to display adverts and collect the revenue. The longer they keep a victim in the app, the higher their advertising revenue. The app, then, is adware.
What About Free Crypto Faucets for Android?
First developed in 2010 for Bitcoin, cryptocurrency faucets are websites and apps that reward you in cryptocurrency for performing tasks. This might be something as simple as viewing an ad, playing a game, signing up for a service, buying an app, or a host of other possibilities.
These faucets exist for three main purposes:
- Introduce newcomers to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
- Drive traffic to apps and websites
- Make money for the owner
Very few such websites and apps make money for their owners, however. Only those with a unique giveaway or high traffic have survived. As for you? It will take a long time to generate a meaningful amount of Bitcoin through free faucets. If you’re willing to try, there are apps you could use that focus on specific cryptocurrencies.
Or you could try a smart faucet.
What Is a Smart Faucet?
A smart faucet is an app that offers an interface to several different faucets at once, enabling you to flip between them with ease. Although this requires a more focused effort, it does mean that you’re able to earn a steady stream of cryptocurrencies, as small as the amount might be.
If you want to try one of these smart faucet apps, the best approach is to do so with no expectations. Keep in mind that these services all have minimum payout limits that are quite high, so rotating between faucets is likely to extend how long it takes to yield rewards. On the plus side, if the faucets you’re using are reliable, the accumulated payout can be worth the effort.
As with many things cryptocurrency-related, there is an issue of trust here. At the end of the day, you’re working for someone else’s Bitcoin account.
Avoid Mining Cryptocurrency on Android
As you have seen, bitcoin mining on Android isn’t a good idea. In fact, it is a terrible idea. Smartphones cannot handle it. The hypothetical returns are negligible. You will destroy your phone! At this point, purchasing cloud mining power is your best chance of using your Android to mine bitcoin.
There is a new generation of smartphones that link to the blockchain directly. The use of these blockchain smartphones varies between privacy and security, like the Pundi X BOB, and as a gimmick feature.
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