Do you want to support UNICEF’s goal of making the world a better place for less fortunate kids? Turns out now you can, just by visiting a website and volunteering your computer’s processing power. UNICEF Australia has turned to crypto mining to fund its humanitarian causes, and it’s counting on support from the public. While there have been widespread cases of people’s computing power being used to mine cryptos, this initiative is different, as it’s dedicated to funding UNICEF as it endeavors to provide humanitarian assistance to children and mothers.
UNICEF Australia has launched The Hopepage, a website with a simple interface that calls on visitors to “Give Hope, Just By Being Here.” Once one visits the site, he or she is prompted to click a ‘Start Donating’ button that lets them start donating their computer’s processing power right away. One also gets the option to determine just how much of their processing power they will donate, with the maximum allocation being 80%. (It can be dangerous to donate too much of your processing power to mining, as it’s a very energy-intensive process.)
The site also explains how the process works. Once you agree to donate your processing power, your computer automatically starts solving algorithms (mining) which earns UNICEF cryptos that it trades to raise funds for its causes. Those funds are used to buy life-saving supplies like vaccines and safe water for millions of children.
For those who would like to contribute to the cause but are wary of mining, the site has an assuring message for them:
Mining is perfectly safe for your computer. If you’re ever worried about power consumption, turn down the amount of processing power you’re donating.
The site uses Coinhive, a crypto mining service which has in the past been widely associated with cryptojacking, a process in which unscrupulous internet users mine cryptos using people’s computers without their knowledge or consent. This is, however, a very noble undertaking for Coinhive, and will have the secondary benefit of restoring some faith in the service, which has gained notoriety for being used to target users of YouTube, Google, and even UK government sites.
A Growing Trend
While UNICEF Australia is pioneering the use of people’s processing power for humanitarian causes, other companies have also turned to using the processing power of their users to mine cryptos, some legally and many more illegally. Among those doing it legally and openly is Salon, a media outlet that is exploring using its visitors’ computing power in place of ads. This offer is optional, and one can opt out and instead view ads if they wish.
Among those that have been caught using Coinhive to illegally harvest processing power from users include The Pirate Bay, a digital repository for media content and software. After users found out that the site had been cryptojacking their computers, the site apologized and proposed a more open harvesting of processing power in place of ads. Most of the people who responded to the proposal were supportive of the initiative just so they could avoid ads. Showtime, an American television network, was also found to have been doing the same thing; it had been mining Monero, a privacy-focused crypto, using Coinhive’s software.