This software lets you bail people out of jail by mining cryptocurrency
If you were to briefly dip your toes into the New York prison system, you’d find thousands of people sitting in jail cells without being convicted of a crime. These people aren’t able to find the money to pay for bail in arraignment, simply because they can’t afford it. These people, theoretically innocent until proven guilty, could end up waiting weeks, months or even years before going to trial. Now a charity initiative, set up by The New Enquiry in partnership with the Bronx Freedom Fund, has found an ingenious way to raise money for bail – by letting you mine cryptocurrency.
Bail Block, an app you can download, redirects 10% of your computer’s unused processing power to mine the Monero cryptocurrency. At the end of every month, Bail Block will exchange the coins for US dollars and donate all of it to the Bronx Freedom Fund. In 2018, the money raised will be instead routed to the Bail Project, an initiative that hopes to bail out people in 36 cities across the US over the next five years.
You could expect to generate $3-$5 in one month with only 10% of your computer’s processing power but you can raise this to up to 50% if you’d like.
In a simulation run by Bail Block, if 5,000 people ran Bail Block for twelve months, they would have cumulatively raised $146,162. That’s 1,773 people freed from pre-trial detention and 1,630 cases dismissed. Even better, Bail Block uses a revolving model which means that any funds used to bail out people before sentencing is returned to the source when the defendant appears in court.
According to the Bail Project, the “team identifies people in need,” so that “when someone pays bail and comes back for court, their bail payment is refunded. It basically functions like a deposit.” That means that funds raised can be used for more than one person.
“Most people balk at the idea notion of creating monetary value out of thin air as with Bitcoin, mining Monero is basically the process of opting in to verifying transactions over the network,” Grayson Earle, co-founder of the project told The Next Web. “It’s a way of incentivising an increased level of participation in the blockchain or the shared ledger. Everyone that downloads Bail Block will be mining to a single address so all of the tiny contributions of thousands of users will amount to larger incremental payouts.”
It’s nice to see cryptocurrency used for charitable dealings, especially as the blockchain is notorious for shady dealings on the dark web. While the volatile nature of cryptocurrency does worry me, the small amounts generated by each person should mean that if there are enough people, Bail Block will be able to raise bail money for years to come.
You can download Bail Block for your computer here.