Ads -vs- Cryptomining
Cryptomining just might save us all from the horrifying ad-supported future ahead of us. (Sorry if that link is geofenced.)
In the current phase of the Internet, advertising rules the Web for sure. Entire systems have been established to coerce and fool people into clicking on links to generate ad impressions (or whatever the term is these days.) Because the advertising model rewards you for getting a lot of people to go to your site, you don't need any real content. It provides an incentive for websites to have small pages with a lot of ads surrounding said "content" and to stretch and split longer sections into multiple smaller pieces. (That way you have to click on the next page to get the next segment of content which results in loading more advertisements; rinse and repeat.)
Thus the rise of the "listicle" and the explosion of "fake news" websites. It's the web equivalent of SPAM; you only get a fraction of a $CURRENCY_UNIT for each person who loads the page so you need to get many thousands (or millions) of people to load a given webpage in order to make any money. Thus small pages with click-bait headlines and little to no actual content. Fake News leverages outrage and the hyper-partisanship of our day to drive users to their site and thus bump their impression rate.
But the important thing to remember is that they don’t need you to *stay* at the site. They don’t need you to become a regular visitor and they don’t need to have truthful or entertaining content. They don’t need anything other than gibberish, ads surrounding the gibberish, and then something to trick you into loading the gibberish. They have “Red Flag” headlines designed to get people emotionally invested in clicking but it doesn’t really matter what the headline is or what the actual content is once you click the link; they just need your eyeballs on the page long enough to register the view. In fact the less time you spend there the better – it lets you go back to Facebook or wherever you were when you saw the link in order to present you with a new link to click on in order to generate more ad views (rinse and repeat.)
Cryptomining in the browser requires the exact opposite approach. If someone clicks a link and finds nothing of interest to keep them reading, then the cryptomining website owner makes nothing. But if they can convince you to *stay* at that site by, say, providing actual content that is interesting and informative, then they will make money from the coins being mined while you are there. Thus it will be in the site’s best interest to attract more users and to keep them there longer. The more people with the page open and running the mining code and the longer people stay at a given site the more money generated for the site.
It’s not a panacea or course and there will be people who will abuse cryptomining systems as sure as people figured out how to abuse advertising systems. But browsers could provide a management method to control cryptomining much more efficiently than they can block ads; it could be as simple as a whitelist/blacklist of sites or cryptocurrencies or more complicated like some way to tell if you are actively reading a site's content or if there is merely a hidden window somewhere running code.
TL;DR – Ad revenue encourages a minimal amount of low quality content on websites designed to get you in and out quickly and repeatedly. Cryptomining revenue encourages high quality and engaging content that gets you to stay at that site longer.