Dropbox is ending unlimited cloud storage due to crypto miners

25 Aug 2023

Image: © Ralf/Stock.adobe.com

The company claims some users have abused its ‘as much space as you need’ policy for purposes such as crypto mining and reselling storage.

Terms like “unlimited” and “forever” should always be taken with a pinch of salt, as is being shown again with a new change in Dropbox’s service.

The company is changing the amount of cloud storage space that Dropbox Advanced users get, as a result of misuse from certain groups. Users of this tier previously received “as much space as you need”, but this is being changed to 15Tb of storage for customers that purchase Dropbox Advanced with three active licenses.

Dropbox has blamed the change on some users abusing the subscription for purposes such as “crypto and Chia mining”, individuals pooling storage for personal use and “reselling storage”.

“In recent months, we’ve seen a surge of this behaviour in the wake of other services making similar policy changes,” Dropbox said. “We’ve observed that customers like these frequently consume thousands of times more storage than our genuine business customers, which risks creating an unreliable experience for all of our customers.

“Importantly, our policy for Advanced has always been to provide as much storage as needed to run a legitimate business or organisation, not to provide unlimited storage for any use case.”

In 2021, Google made a similar move for its Photos app and removed free “unlimited” storage for its users. Last year, educational users of Google Workspace were hit with a policy change that limited the free tier to 100TB, The Register reported.

Earlier this year, some Google Drive users claimed they were locked out of their accounts due to a sudden hard limit to the number of files users could store.

Dropbox said its goal is to reduce disruption to its current Advanced subscribers with the new policy change. Customers that are using less than 35TB of storage per license will be able to keep this storage – plus an additional 5TB – for five years at no extra cost.

The company said more than 99pc of its Advanced subscribers are at this threshold. Users that have more than 35TB in storage will get similar benefits, but only for one year after being notified.

“We will begin gradually migrating existing customers to the new policy on November 1,” Dropbox said. “We’ll notify all customers at least 30 days prior to their planned migration date.

“We recognise that changing an ‘all the space you need’ policy will be disappointing for some customers. And while we‘re unable to offer this option going forward, our goal is to ensure that the vast majority of teams on our Advanced plan experience no disruption.”

Earlier this year, Dropbox revealed plans to cut 16pc of its global workforce – 500 employees – in order to focus on growth and capitalise on the recent AI surge.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic