A new charity initiative called Bail Bloc seeks to use cryptocurrency to free the poor from jail, reports Vice’s Motherboard. Software that uses your computer power to “mine” (or create) Bitcoins and other digital currency for profit has become a bit of a bogeyman online. But Bail Bloc, a collaboration between online publication The New Inquiry and the non-profit Bronx Freedom Fund, harnesses similar technology for more noble ends. The Bail Bloc website offers an app that dedicates some of your computer power to generate the cryptocurrency Monero, which will be used to bail out people who can’t afford it, the sponsors say.
The project will start by focusing on New York City jails but will spread to other cities in 2018 and beyond as part of the Bronx Freedom Fund’s new national bail initiative, the Bail Project. “We’re a publishing platform created by and for communities that have been historically targeted by the state, which means that our access to capital is limited, as is true for most millennials,” said Maya Binyam, an editor at The New Inquiry and organizer for Bail Bloc. “What we do have access to, however, is computing power. And so on a practical level, fundraising through mining makes sense.” Bail Bloc estimates that if 5,000 people ran its software for a year, they could generate $151,000 worth of Monero and bail nearly 2,000 people out of jail. The app takes 10 percent of your CPU power by default, but generous users can set it so that they donate 25 or even 50 percent of their computing power.