The ongoing ban started without public notification, as reported by The Register.
According to Microsoft’s new update on the product terms, cryptocurrency mining is prohibited on Microsoft’s online services without prior permission. Miners are required to get written approval from the company to use Azure software for mining cryptocurrency.
“Updated Acceptable Use Policy to clarify that cryptocurrency mining is prohibited without Microsoft’s prior consent. Neither Customer nor those that access an Online Service through Customer, may use an Online Service … to mine cryptocurrency without Microsoft’s prior written approval,” as written in the policy update.
The Game is Rough
The update, which is valid from Dec. 1, targets to protect customers from cybersecurity risks that illicitly disrupt and steal customers’ properties.
Microsoft Online Services is a cloud-hosted service provider that plays a key role in Microsoft’s suite. Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform well-known for its offering of crypto mining, in addition to a suite of tools that helps customers to process, store, and manage data.
Mining on virtual machines was a good alternative method without needing hefty physical machines or hardware. The cloud solutions gave users great ways to mine cryptocurrencies while saving expenses.
Apart from ming ability, Azure reportedly piloted the Azure Blockchain Service in 2019 as a solution for supply chain management with Starbucks being its first customer.
However, the tech giant announced it shut down the initiative after 6 years of operation, claiming industry changes and declined interest in the product.
Microsoft joined forces with other major companies including Google and Amazon’s AWS. Google prohibited crypto mining without written permission from its cloud services to protect customers’ accounts while Amazon removed the feature from its 12-month free trial subscription.
The news sparked both speculation and criticism within the crypto community, particularly regarding the source of the news, which asserted that Microsoft had been covertly implementing the policy.
According to The Register’s speculations, one of the motivations behind the move is the prolonged downward trend in market prices.
More than 80 percent of Bitcoin’s value, along with that of other cryptocurrencies, has been wiped out as the year 2022 came to a close. The mining industry suffered as a result of the negative trend.
A number of Bitcoin miners like Core Scientific, Iris Energy, and Argo Blockchain have hit a roadblock and have reportedly been on the verge of collapse.
In light of the winter market, many miners are standing at a crossroads as they also face an increase in their monthly electricity bills in addition to the extreme difficulty of mining.
According to the Bitcoin Mining Council’s Q3 report, Bitcoin power consumption has climbed by 41% in the last year.
The rise in the cost of electricity, combined with the fact that the difficulty of the algorithm has remained the same, is causing a decline in the revenue generated by Bitcoin mining to levels not seen in the past two years.
Revenue from bitcoin mining is calculated by multiplying the value of block rewards and transaction fees by the price of bitcoin.
According to experts, the reason why the price of BTC is now higher than two years ago but miner revenue is decreasing is due to the difficulty of the mining as well as the continuously rising price of electricity.
Bitcoin mining difficulty has reached an all-time high, putting a strain on miners. This forces them to spend more money upgrading their machines in order to remain competitive in the network.
To keep their operations running, Bitcoin miners have had to sell off a large portion of their BTC supply. Microsoft might get concerned that miners will not pay their cloud bills, the source suggested.
There is also speculation that Azure has a capacity shortage, and that restrictions on crypto mining may reduce demand.