Bail Bloc, a group of online activists, have reportedly been trying to raise funds via cryptocurrency mining - in order to help bail people out of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) pre-trial incarceration.
ICE is a federal level law enforcement agency of the United States, and it is tasked with “enforcing the immigration laws” of the country. ICE also “investigates criminal and terrorist activity of foreign nationals residing in the United States.”
On November 15th, Twitter user Maya Binyam (@MayaBinyam), who is the co-founder of Bail Bloc, noted that it had been exactly one year since its initiative to help detainees had been launched.
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
Binyam explained that Bail Bloc had been using the computing resources of consenting users to “get people out of pre-trial incarceration”, and that Bail Block 2.0 was being launched - in order to “use spare computing power to get people out of ICE detention.”
30% Increase In Arrests
During the fiscal year (FY) 2017, ICE conducted 143,470 administrative arrests - which is a 30% increase as the agency only arrested 110,104 people in 2016. Moreover, an increasing number of arrests (92%) made by ICE have resulted in either a criminal conviction or a pending criminal charge.
Detainees must pay an immigration bond in order to be released, however, only about 47% of people held in ICE’s pre-trial incarceration are granted a bond hearing. In situations where people are unable to pay bail money, or their bond request is denied, they usually remain in confinement for months, if not years.
Strong Opposition To US Government's "Unfair Treatment"
Notably, many human rights activists have strongly opposed the US government’s unfair treatment of individuals - as they may have been detained without a proper investigation into whether they are actually guilty of the offense for which they have been charged. Inmates in both the US and Canada have also gone on nationwide strikes to protest what they call “modern slavery.”
Bail Bloc is among many other international activist groups that are trying to help people get out of ICE’s detention centers. However, Bail Bloc’s approach seems to be a bit unique as it has launched an app that uses a small amount of people’s computing power to mine privacy-oriented digital currency, XMR.
Computing Power Donations
Users may choose to donate between 10% to 50% of their computing resources via the app to mine XMR. As explained on Bail Bloc’s official website:
At the end of every month, we exchange the Monero for US dollars and donate the earnings to one of the bail funds in the National Bail Fund Network on a rotational basis. Bail Bloc is currently mining Monero for the Immigrant Bail Fund in New Haven, Connecticut, and from November 2017 to November 2018 mined Monero for the Bronx Freedom Fund.
Moreover, 100% of the XMR generated via mining through Bail Bloc’s app is donated to the Immigrant Bail Fund. The money is then reportedly used to “post bond for people in ICE detention, effective immediately.”