In short: Microsoft has updated its licensing agreements to ban crypto mining on its online services. Any customers wishing to continue mining on a Microsoft-hosted service will first need written permission from the company, but this will only be considered for “Testing and Investigation for Security Findings”.
According to RegisterMicrosoft has updated its Universal License Terms for Online Services for its range of Azure Services and Dynamic 365 Services to prohibit crypto mining without prior company approval. It applies to any “Microsoft-hosted service to which Customer subscribes under a Microsoft Volume Licensing Agreement.” The updated document is primarily related to Azure and is effective December 1st.
The Acceptable Use Policy states, “Neither Customer nor anyone accessing the Online Service through Customer may use the Online Service: to mine cryptocurrency without Microsoft’s prior written permission.”
Microsoft seems to have left most of the update out of the picture. But in the partnership mail Yesterday, Microsoft Channel Sales Manager Daniil Biktimirov wrote that the updated policy is to explicitly ban cryptocurrency mining on all Microsoft online services.
The Redmond-based giant told The Register that it made the change because cryptocurrency mining could disrupt or degrade its online services. He added that users can often be linked to cyber fraud and abusive attacks, such as unauthorized access to and use of customer resources.
Microsoft joins Google Cloud by requiring users to obtain written permission before crypto mining, as does Digital Ocean. Oracle and OVH don’t allow it at all, and Amazon Web Services doesn’t allow it in the free tier.
The crypto industry is currently in crisis. Governments are rushing to introduce tighter regulation following the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, which recently led to the arrest of Sam Bankman-Fried on charges of fraud and money laundering. We have also heard of miners unable to repay millions of loans who were forced to hand over their mining rigs, which were used as collateral. With the price of digital assets collapsing, crypto mining is no longer the lucrative or safe pastime it once was, and all of this may have played a part in Microsoft’s decision, in addition to being Only about the safety of customers and their online services.