Microsoft slaps cryptomining ban on Azure users

Photo of bitcoin and processor on dark background

Microsoft has updated the Universal License Terms for Online Services that apply to Azure to indicate that the service cannot be used to mine cryptocurrency.

The change appears in the Acceptable Use Policy section of the license terms that apply to all Microsoft Online Services, but the ban is not an outright one. While the criteria have not been revealed, it seems that there are circumstances in which the company may be willing to lift the ban on cryptomining.

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Microsoft has updated the license terms with little fanfare, but the clause in question reads: "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".

In a post in the Azure Solution Area forum, the company says:

The updated Acceptable Use Policy, which is part of the Microsoft Product Terms, went into effect on December 1, 2022. This change applies to all new licenses. Existing licenses will be subject to the new Acceptable Use Policy upon renewal. During this phase-in period, it's possible for a customer to have multiple licenses under different acceptable use policies, depending on each license's renewal date. We suggest seeking written pre-approval from Microsoft before using Microsoft Online Services for mining cryptocurrencies, regardless of the term of a subscription.

Microsoft says that the change is part of a move to secure its ecosystem and to help partners "minimize potential fraud damage to [...] customers' subscriptions".

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