Mining internet currency on websites with Coinhive scripts is a lucrative endeavor, but only for a handful of people. This according to researchers from RWTH Aachen University, who used a new detection technique to track pages mining the cryptocurrency and found that [PDF] just 10 users were responsible for 85 per cent of the links that the Coinhive service uses to mine about $250,000 worth of Monero currency every month. In other words; it's nice work if you can get it. And you can't get it.
The researchers are not the first people to find this out. Earlier this year, a Japanese man cuffed for illegally spreading the Coinhive code said he only managed to make around 5,000 Yen, or $45, from the scheme. To be fair, the researchers also note that there simply aren't that many sites actually using Coinhive. They estimate that just .08 per cent of the sites they probed in the study were actually serving the browser mining code, and Coinhive itself only accounts for around 1.18 per cent of all Monero mining. "While probably profitable for Coinhive, it remains questionable whether mining is a feasible alternative to ads," the researchers note.