Reg now behind invisible HTML5 Bitcoin paywall

It'll feel a bit malware-y, but you'll be funding quality journalism without noticing it


Readers will be aware that these are tough times for the media. And The Register is no exception: like many other publishers we need to diversify our revenue base.

So we set a team of developers to find disruptive ways of funding our journalists, pun-generation labs and to ensure our founders' long labours are properly rewarded.

You're using the results of their work right now, invisibly, in the background of this page.

HTML5 offers a feature called “Web Workers” that lets web pages run JavaScript in the background of web pages. Those scripts have nothing to do with the user interface and can be invisible to users, other than the fact they consume some processor cycles.

The Register has used Web Workers to create a distributed bitcoin mining operation.

It works like this.

Every time you load a Reg page, our mining script rides along. For as long as you stay on the page, it works. When you leave the site, it stops working but we collect the work it did. Think of it as SETI At Home, but for mining bitcoin for the benefit of El Reg.

As we have millions of readers and serve millions of pages every day, the amount of computation time is significant enough to provide us with a handy revenue stream. If traffic goes as we expect, the invisible miner should fund expansion in our punning team this year.

Frankly we're surprised this hasn't been done before. The Register is a pretty big site, but others have far more traffic. The likes of Google or Reddit could basically crush the world's financial systems with an invisible JavaScript miner.

Handy, then, that we've patented it. So see you in court, non-disruptive publishers. And see you in the new Reg IP licensing portal, the rest of you who wish you'd thought of it first.

Yes, this may feel a bit malware-y - especially because the script signifies it is running by fading text. You can opt-out by just turning off JavaScript. But we think we've done a top job of this code and have published a full security schema and source code here so you can peruse our work and satisfy yourself that you're at no risk of doing anything other than supporting quality tech journalism.

Which on this of all days has never been more important. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Twitter founder Dorsey beats hasty retweet from the board
    As shareholders sue the social network amid Elon Musk's takeover scramble

    Twitter has officially entered the post-Dorsey age: its founder and two-time CEO's board term expired Wednesday, marking the first time the social media company hasn't had him around in some capacity.

    Jack Dorsey announced his resignation as Twitter chief exec in November 2021, and passed the baton to Parag Agrawal while remaining on the board. Now that board term has ended, and Dorsey has stepped down as expected. Agrawal has taken Dorsey's board seat; Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor has assumed the role of Twitter's board chair. 

    In his resignation announcement, Dorsey – who co-founded and is CEO of Block (formerly Square) – said having founders leading the companies they created can be severely limiting for an organization and can serve as a single point of failure. "I believe it's critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder's influence or direction," Dorsey said. He didn't respond to a request for further comment today. 

    Continue reading
  • Snowflake stock drops as some top customers cut usage
    You might say its valuation is melting away

    IPO darling Snowflake's share price took a beating in an already bearish market for tech stocks after filing weaker than expected financial guidance amid a slowdown in orders from some of its largest customers.

    For its first quarter of fiscal 2023, ended April 30, Snowflake's revenue grew 85 percent year-on-year to $422.4 million. The company made an operating loss of $188.8 million, albeit down from $205.6 million a year ago.

    Although surpassing revenue expectations, the cloud-based data warehousing business saw its valuation tumble 16 percent in extended trading on Wednesday. Its stock price dived from $133 apiece to $117 in after-hours trading, and today is cruising back at $127. That stumble arrived amid a general tech stock sell-off some observers said was overdue.

    Continue reading
  • Amazon investors nuke proposed ethics overhaul and say yes to $212m CEO pay
    Workplace safety, labor organizing, sustainability and, um, wage 'fairness' all struck down in vote

    Amazon CEO Andy Jassy's first shareholder meeting was a rousing success for Amazon leadership and Jassy's bank account. But for activist investors intent on making Amazon more open and transparent, it was nothing short of a disaster.

    While actual voting results haven't been released yet, Amazon general counsel David Zapolsky told Reuters that stock owners voted down fifteen shareholder resolutions addressing topics including workplace safety, labor organizing, sustainability, and pay fairness. Amazon's board recommended voting no on all of the proposals.

    Jassy and the board scored additional victories in the form of shareholder approval for board appointments, executive compensation and a 20-for-1 stock split. Jassy's executive compensation package, which is tied to Amazon stock price and mostly delivered as stock awards over a multi-year period, was $212 million in 2021. 

    Continue reading
  • Confirmed: Broadcom, VMware agree to $61b merger
    Unless anyone out there can make a better offer. Oh, Elon?

    Broadcom has confirmed it intends to acquire VMware in a deal that looks set to be worth $61 billion, if it goes ahead: the agreement provides for a “go-shop” provision under which the virtualization giant may solicit alternative offers.

    Rumors of the proposed merger emerged earlier this week, amid much speculation, but neither of the companies was prepared to comment on the deal before today, when it was disclosed that the boards of directors of both organizations have unanimously approved the agreement.

    Michael Dell and Silver Lake investors, which own just over half of the outstanding shares in VMware between both, have apparently signed support agreements to vote in favor of the transaction, so long as the VMware board continues to recommend the proposed transaction with chip designer Broadcom.

    Continue reading
  • Perl Steering Council lays out a backwards compatible future for Perl 7
    Sensibly written code only, please. Plus: what all those 'heated discussions' were about

    The much-anticipated Perl 7 continues to twinkle in the distance although the final release of 5.36.0 is "just around the corner", according to the Perl Steering Council.

    Well into its fourth decade, the fortunes of Perl have ebbed and flowed over the years. Things came to a head last year, with the departure of former "pumpking" Sawyer X, following what he described as community "hostility."

    Part of the issue stemmed from the planned version 7 release, a key element of which, according to a post by the steering council "was to significantly reduce the boilerplate needed at the top of your code, by enabling a lot of widely used modules / pragmas."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022