Following the surge in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency interest in 2017, a lot of people began Bitcoin mining on phones. This surge in cryptocurrency interest eventually led to new restrictions being implemented from companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, and others.
Is it possible to mine Bitcoins on Android? The answer is more complicated than you might have thought, as it is a yes and a no. In July 2018, Google took the step of banning Bitcoin mining apps on the Google Play store, after issuing the following update to its company developer policy:
“We don’t allow apps that mine crypto-currency on devices.”
Google was following Apple’s lead after Apple had already banned mobile Bitcoin mining on iPhones at this point. Google’s mining ban followed their ban of Google chrome extensions that could be used for cryptocurrency mining.
However, this did not eliminate the potential for Bitcoin Android mining. Google (and Apple) were still allowing developers to create apps which enabled users to manage mining being performed somewhere else (i.e., not on an Android device), such as via cloud computing.
It should be added that this ban was hardly a disaster for genuine miners, and probably did help protect most people from losing money for two reasons:
The first reason is that it is tough to mine Bitcoin on an Android device. If you try to mine Bitcoin with an Android device, your smartphone will be competing against specially manufactured devices, against which it does not stand a chance. You would be extremely unlikely to mine any Bitcoin, and when the battery/electricity usage is also considered you would be operating at a loss. Substantial damage could likely be caused to your phone due to the heat from its mining constantly. It is possible to successfully mine other cryptocurrencies on a mobile or Android device, such as Electroneum. However, Bitcoin is not one of them.
The second reason is people who are knowledgeable about Bitcoin would not try and mine on an Android device, as they already know it would be pointless. This means that the majority of people attempting to mine Bitcoin on their Android devices were newer and less knowledgeable cryptocurrency enthusiasts. As a consequence, the people interested in mining Bitcoin on Android devices were very susceptible to scams and often downloaded malware onto their devices that caused them harm. We will cover this in more detail later in the article.
Popular Apps before the Google Ban – Best Bitcoin Miner for Android
Before we go over some of the popular Android apps from before Google implemented their ban, it is essential to understand how a mining pool works. Assuming you know the basic concept of how mining works (which has been covered in-depth in other articles here and here), a mining pool is where miners group together and pool their mining/processing power.
Being in a mining pool means the likelihood of successful mining is much higher, as your odds of successful mining improve the more processing power you have. The alternative is being paid only when you successfully mine a block, which could be very unlikely and take a very long time to happen. You receive smaller regular payouts based on your contribution of processing power to the pool and your expected mining reward over time. Effectively you receive a frequent low payout based on your percentage share of the processing power in the mining pool.
Now we have established why Google implemented their ban, and how a mining pool works. We will cover some of the apps that were the most popular for Bitcoin mining on Android before the ban was introduced:
Minergate is a cryptocurrency mining pool that has over 3,500,000 users. Minergate is not exclusive to Android and can be downloaded and ran on pretty much any device, from a smartphone (before the ban) to a PC to a tablet. Minergate is a well known and well-respected app for anyone wondering ‘is Minergate safe?’
Rather than just mining Bitcoin, the Minergate calculator automatically mines the coins with the best exchange rate which it calls Smart Mining. To ensure users make the most profit possible, with the payouts coming in Bitcoin. This helps make Minergate one of the best Bitcoin mining apps available, as well as being a good Ethereum mining app. Minergate is arguably the best Bitcoin mining app Android had to offer before the ban. So users can earn as much Bitcoin as possible with their device even though they are not mining Bitcoin.
Some users have criticized the Minergate mobile miner for being inefficient and not as profitable as it should be. Although this likely depends on the device users are using and the amount of processing power they contribute to the pool. Minergate has also received lots of poor reviews from users and been criticized for not being transparent with users and not transferring their funds.
Minergate does have a benchmarking feature. This enables users to receive an estimate of the amount of extra income they could expect from adding their device to the mining pool. So this should help prevent users from adding their devices to the pool and then running them at a loss.
Before Google’s July 2018 policy change, you could download the Miner gate mobile app onto your Android device and mine directly with your phone. However, after the policy change, Minergate released an update on August 2018 (v. 2.4) that prevented this to comply with Google’s new policy. So rather than mining Bitcoin/cryptocurrency directly, the Minergate app can now only be used to “monitor and manage” your mining process instead. Minergate was banned from the Play Store by Google in August 2018 however it has since been restored.
Neo Neon Miner
NeoNeonMiner was another popular app for mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies directly with an Android device. NeoNeonMiner was a famous mining app due to the broad range of mining algorithms it supports, including NeoScrypt, Scrypt, SHA256, X11, X11EVO, X13, X14, X15, Quark, Qubit, Axiom, Lyra2RE, Lyra2REv2, ScryptJaneNf16, CryptoNight, Cryptolight, M7M, and Yescrypt. NeoNeonMiner was probably the most diverse Bitcoin mining software Android had to offer in terms of the number of cryptocurrencies that could be mined.
Unlike Minergate, NeNeonMiner is no longer available from the Google Play store at all, as it did not update its features to comply with the new policy. However, NeoNeonMiner can still be downloaded on to Android devices, as it is available in the Amazon app store instead. The reviews on the Amazon app store suggest that although the app is easy to set up and works well, it does not tell users how much they are mining. So users are unable to assess whether or not they are mining profitably.
If you are looking to get around Google’s ban and download apps outside of the Play Store on to your Android, NeoNeonMiner is probably not worth the risk. NeoNeonMiner could be a damaging app to your device, as it may have dangerous hidden code. Although user reviews suggest this is not the case, with the majority of reviews being positive.
PocketMiner was an app for mining Litecoin on your Android device. It was relatively ‘phone friendly’ for a miner, with features including automatic mining when charging, automatically stopping mining on low battery, and allowing users to choose the number of mining threads they ran. PocketMiner was not the best Bitcoin app Android offered given it was a Litecoin miner, but it was still very popular.
Despite being phone friendly PocketMiner was not a very efficient miner. Users were advised it was probably much cheaper to buy Litecoin rather than using the miner to obtain it.
PocketMiner stayed on the Play Store for a while after the new policy, despite not complying with it. However, Google eventually took it down. PocketMiner did not return to the Play Store after the ban and is no longer available to download (on the Play Store at least).
Crypto Scam Apps
One of the benefits of Google Play’s ban is a lot of the scam apps have now been removed. This means newer users are less likely to fall for these scams as they are not as exposed to them.
A lot of fake exchange and wallet apps existed on the Play Store before the ban, and although there may still be some, the number of fake apps has come down since the ban. Although if you are downloading an app for a wallet or exchange onto your Android, you should always take the necessary steps required to ensure it is legitimate. Such as checking the wallet/exchanges website rather than choosing a random Play Store app.
Other app-related scams include malware scams, where the app installs malware onto your phone and steals your cryptocurrency holdings. Therefore you should ensure you have up to date antivirus software on your phone, and that you only download apps from legitimate and credible sources.
There are plenty of other scams that users should watch out for when it comes to cryptocurrency. However, the above ones are the main ones relating to Android devices. For more information regarding the most popular cryptocurrency scams and how to protect against them, click here.
Free Bitcoin Generator for Android
You may have seen websites or apps claiming to be free Bitcoin generators or a free Bitcoin miner for Android or a free Bitcoin miner robot. Surely these are too good to be true? If you are thinking this, you are right. Any app or website claiming to generate free Bitcoin will almost certainly be a scam and should be avoided.
One of the reasons Bitcoin is so valuable is because of its scarcity; there will never be more than 21,000,000 Bitcoins. If it were possible to generate Bitcoins for free, then Bitcoin would be worthless.
The only ways to obtain Bitcoin are to buy, mine, steal, or earn it. It is not possible to generate it for free unless there is a bug in the code which people are not aware of yet. Even if this were the case, doing so would likely render all Bitcoin worthless, including the Bitcoin being ‘generated.’ If a website claims to generate Bitcoin, it is almost certainly a scam to steal your cryptocurrency/money or obtain your personal information, such as your email address.
Free Crypto Faucets for Android
A crypto faucet is an app (or website) that pays users small amounts of cryptocurrency for completing tasks, such as playing games or completing captchas. The first crypto faucet was created by former Bitcoin developer Gavin Andreson and had a payout of 5 BTC per person.
The majority of Bitcoin faucets have lots of ads on their site. As the Bitcoin payouts are so small, they earn more from users viewing or accidentally clicking the ads than they give out in free Bitcoin. A lot of faucets are deliberately unclear about where to click to claim your Bitcoin, to increase the number of users clicking ads by mistake.
Bitcoin faucets are extremely unlikely to be worth the time required to earn Bitcoin, with some payouts being as low as $0.50 for clicking every 5 minutes for 24 hours. Legitimate Bitcoin faucets are harmless and can be a good way for newer users to learn about cryptocurrency. Although faucets are not worth the time it takes to earn the tiny amount of Bitcoin you will receive.
It should be noted that although these are not real faucets, some scam faucets do exist. These scam faucets claim to be Bitcoin wallets services, and require users login to their’ wallets’ to ‘claim’ the Bitcoin they have earned. They then steal the users deposited/earned coins.
If you are interested in using or learning more about faucets, although as discussed they are not an effective way of earning Bitcoin, you can find a list of 42 different faucets here.
Cloud Mining from your Smartphone
Cloud mining is the process of mining Bitcoin using the rented processing power of the cloud. This means you do not need to own the hardware for your mining. The profit margins for cloud mining are generally lower than mining with your own equipment, due to the cost of the cloud’s processing power.
To mine using the cloud, you need a device for communication and to keep your Bitcoin wallets on, etc. This means you can mine using the cloud using an Android device. As discussed above the Minergate app can now be used to manage your cloud mining if you want to investigate it further. So you no longer need to download Bitcoin miner for Android directly on to your phone.
Bitcoin Miner Android Conclusion
In conclusion, although it is no longer possible to mine cryptocurrency directly on your Android device without downloading apps outside of the Play Store, that is probably not a bad thing. This is because you are less likely to be exposed to scams, and you almost certainly would not have made a profit mining Bitcoin on your Android device anyway.