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An online activist group, Bail Bloc, is trying to raise funds via a cryptocurrency called Monero, in order to bail people out of US immigration and Customer Enforcement’s (ICE) pre-trial incarceration. Recently, the group launched Bail Bloc 2.0, which has a little cryptocurrency twist.
Exactly one year ago today, we launched Bail Bloc, which has been using your spare computing power to get people out of pre-trial incarceration. Today we're launching Bail Bloc 2.0, which uses spare computing power to get people out of ICE detention. https://t.co/ZNaSw5pSQe
— Maya Binyam (@mayabinyam) November 15, 2018
How Bail Bloc Works
Users who want to help free ICE detainees can download the Bail Bloc app onto their computer. Once installed the app will use a small portion of excess processing power to mine for Monero, an open source cryptocurrency created in 2014. At the end of every month, the Monero generated is converted to US dollars and donated to a bail fund.
In its official website, Bail Bloc states:
100% of the currency your computer generates is used by the Immigrant Bail Fund to post bond for people in ICE detention, effective immediately. Additionally, between November 15 and December 15, 2018, The New Inquiry will match in dollars the amount of Monero mined by users.
There has been widespread controversy over ICE and their tactics. 2017 saw a 30% increase in arrests from 2016, and 92% of arrests have resulted in a criminal conviction or a pending charge. For many human rights activists, ICE’s treatment of suspected illegal immigrants is inhumane. Often people are held without proper investigation into whether they are guilty, and it can be months to years before they are released.
ICE is often responsible for breaking up families, removing the parents and leaving children behind, since children born in the US have an automatic right to citizenship. This has caused huge tensions in the US. Some people believe the US does have a real problem with illegal immigration from their southern border, and ICE fills a necessary role. Others believe the treatment of these people is a step too far and isn’t in line with the US values of freedom and the American Dream.
Bail Bloc using Monero to allow detained immigrants to go free pending their trial is another great example of the widespread uses of cryptocurrency and blockchain. The idea is innovative and forward thinking. There are other groups attempting to do the same thing, which should hopefully make a considerable difference in the lives of those currently affected by ICE.
As cryptocurrency and blockchain technology becomes both more popular and more trusted, we are likely to see more crypto-activism. The anonymous nature of cryptocurrency makes it a very useful tool for social activism and helping those in need. In some countries around the world, people can be prosecuted and sometimes executed for their involvement in certain activities; cryptocurrency gives people the anonymity to bee free from an oppressive government.