What just happened? Following its decision to remove cryptomining extensions from the Chrome Web Store in April, Google has now banned cryptocurrency mining apps from the Play Store. The updated policy states that applications that “remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency” are allowed, but actual miners are no longer prohibited.
Google has been clamping down on pretty much all things crypto for a few months now. Back in March, the company announced it would soon ban all cryptocurrency-related ads, and it followed this up a month later with the Chrome extension ban—a result of “malicious software developers who attempt to abuse the platform at the expense of users.”
As noted by Android Police, the updated Play Store guidelines now ban several categories of apps. In addition to the miners, applications designed to appeal to children but contain adult themes are also banned. It’s an issue YouTube has been experiencing with many videos supposedly made for kids.
Apps that "facilitate the sale of explosives, firearms, ammunition, or certain firearms accessories" are also banned. This includes apps that instruct users on how to create their own firearms, explosives, ammo, or accessories, or how to convert weapons to fully automatic using, for example, bump stocks.
There are also restrictions on repetitive apps, which Google defines as apps with similar content and user experience. Additionally, “apps that are created by an automated tool, wizard service, or based on templates and submitted to Google Play by the operator of that service on behalf of other persons are not allowed.”
Finally, apps that have the sole purpose of serving up ads and any that intentionally mislead users, such as those that impersonate people or organizations, have also been banned.