Everyone wants more Robux, the in-game currency for the hyper-popular Roblox ecosystem. Players can earn that digital cash by trading items they’ve acquired, playing certain Roblox games, or creating new cosmetics to sell to other players. Players can also buy Robux from Roblox itself with real money.
Some websites offer an enticing, and unauthorized, alternative: tools that claim they can mine Robux using the player’s computer. “Make ROBUX whenever you want at the push of a button,” the website for Buxify, one of the miners, reads.
In reality, these miners are doing something a little different. They use a player’s computing power to mine cryptocurrency, and then automatically trade that currency for Robux. The tools are essentially cryptominers that we’ve seen hackers deploy, but specifically marketed towards Roblox players, some of which are children. (Roblox told Motherboard its “largest growing population” of players are 17-24 years old, and that most of its players are over 13.) Sometimes the miners do make this cryptocurrency mining explicit. In Buxify’s case, it did not.
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Gaming platform Roblox is valued at over $60 billion and is played in some form by over half of all children in America. At least some of the people who have downloaded Robux mining software do appear to be children, according to posts on social media.
Buxify’s website did not make the cryptocurrency mining clear to users. In Motherboard’s own tests with downloading the software, the program itself never mentioned that it mined cryptocurrency.
However, PD, the pseudonymous owner of Buxify, readily told Motherboard how the app works and mines cryptocurrency when asked.
“Basically it utilizes the user’s PC to mine cryptocurrency at a purposely conservatively safe, default setting (both temperature and % usage limits) and uses API's to automatically convert that earned crypto to Robux,” PD told Motherboard in an online chat.
PD said that Buxify gets a slice of the cryptocurrency mined by the program. “It's actually a really fair split for the user,” they said.
PD added “we're doing our best to be as transparent as possible and reward the user for that sort of trust relationship using our software.” The tool also has a “daily jackpot,” where users can earn entries into a lottery to win more Robux by keeping Buxify running.
Before PD confirmed to Motherboard that Buxify mines cryptocurrency, Motherboard provided a copy of the Buxify software to cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.
“According to the website, after the installation of the app, the user will be able to mine Robux coin. Instead, once the user launches the mining function in the app, it starts mining Etherium, Ravencoin and Ergo coins for specific wallets (one wallet for each cryptocurrency),” Kaspersky told Motherboard in an email.
Before receiving the Buxify file from Motherboard, Kapersky did not flag the software as malicious, according to scan results on malware search engine Virus Total. Now, Kaspersky identifies this version of Buxify as a malicious miner. Since then, other cybersecurity companies such as Alibaba, Checkpoint, and Lionic have also marked Buxify as malicious.
“BloxCrusher allows you to easily mine the most profitable crypto for your GPU. Then, we automatically convert each share solved by your GPU to the equivalent R$ amount.” BloxCrusher’s website reads. BloxCrusher also lets users share their internet connection as a proxy for other users in exchange for more Robux.
“I showed my dad bloxcrusher and he said that it has Bitcoin miner feature that uses power and gives people online Crypto,” one person wrote on Reddit in the past few weeks.
Thousands of people were online in the Discord server for RBXIdle when Motherboard joined on Friday. Here people uploaded screenshots of how much Robux they had allegedly made while mining, and discussed what graphics card they were using.
“how much could i make in a day with my gtx 1650 ti,” one user in the Discord asked.
“probably 100+ or so you kind of just have to find out by running it, depends on a lot of factors, most of which are outside your control,” another replied, adding that they use a GeForce RTX 2060 Super.
Roblox said that using these Robux mining tools is against its terms of service.
“This is against our Terms of Service. Roblox maintains many systems to keep our users safe and secure, and we prohibit attempts to bypass these systems or otherwise violate our platform requirements. Roblox maintains the Robux system for everyone’s benefit and enjoyment. To keep it secure, some uses of Robux are not permitted, including using third-party services to sell, trade, or give away Robux,” a Roblox spokesperson told Motherboard in an email.
When asked if Roblox has taken any action, legal or otherwise, or plans to do so against these sorts of mining tools, the spokesperson said that “It is our policy not to comment on active or potential litigation.”
Updated: This piece has been updated to add additional information on what Roblox says is its largest growing population of players.