In an effort to stabilize its cloud services, Microsoft’s updated terms are restricting access to Bitcoin and crypto mining.
Any users who intend to do so now must receive pre-written approval from the company.
Microsoft Against Mining?
Per Microsoft’s Summary of Changes page, the software giant updated its Universal License Terms for Online Services on December 1 to “clarify that mining cryptocurrency is prohibited without prior Microsoft approval.”
Specifically, under the terms’ Acceptable Use Policy, Microsoft states that “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.”
Little justification was provided for the change until Wednesday when Microsoft published an advisory titled “Important actions partners need to take to secure the partner ecosystem,” which reiterated the policy change.
“We suggest seeking written pre-approval from Microsoft before using Microsoft Online Services for mining cryptocurrencies, regardless of the term of a subscription,” it added.
According to the British tech site The Register, Microsoft claimed that crypto mining can “cause disruption or even impairment to Online Services.” Furthermore, its users are frequently linked to “cyber fraud” and “abuse attacks” involving unauthorized use of customer resources.
“We made this change to further protect our customers and mitigate the risk of disrupting or impairing services in the Microsoft Cloud,” the company said. A circumstance in which it might permit a customer to mine is for testing and research purposes.
Google Cloud also prevented the use of its servers for crypto mining without written approval, while Oracle and OVH have outright banned it. Meanwhile, Amazon Web Services (AWS) only allows crypto mining within its paid tiers.
Miners have been struggling to stay afloat throughout the past few months in the face of Bitcoin’s increasing difficulty adjustment and collapsing price. North Compute has already filed for bankruptcy, while firms like Iris Energy and Argo Blockchain have indicated that they cannot make their interest payments.
Core Scientific was in similar trouble in October, but has since agreed to restructure its debt alongside B.Riley, receiving a $72 million loan from the firm.
Many private companies have taken issue with crypto mining over its energy footprint, prompting them to disassociate from the industry. One includes Mozilla – which ceased accepting donations from Proof of Work-based cryptos in January.
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