United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), a United Nations program headquartered in New York City that provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries, has surprisingly taken the initiative to offer individuals the ability to donate to the non-profit through PC crypto mining.
“We wanted to leverage new emerging technologies to raise awareness about current humanitarian crises and raise funds to support children caught up in them,” Jennifer Tierney, Unicef Australia director of fundraising and communications, said.
More than 1,700 individuals are currently giving their CPU processing power to the charity’ mining page, where they continue to mine for as long as they remain on the site.
We gave it a quick test-run, and surprisingly it is all pretty simple, fairly smooth, so beginning with a request for confirmation that we do want to donate CPU mining capabilities.
You’ll notice there “Powered by Coinhive.” On the linked page, Coinhive says:
“When allowing the computations to run, your Processor solves a mathematical puzzle – the hashing algorithm for the Monero Blockchain. Monero is a Crypto Currency, not unlike Bitcoin.
Essentially, you’re mining XMR – the currency for the Monero Blockchain. With each hash you solve, you create a tiny bit of XMR, less than one one-thousands of a dollar cent. But it all adds up.”
Salon has begun using them too, but that Unicef has decided to do the same is surprising because Monero is slightly controversial due to in effect replacing bitcoin for use in the dark web.
Once we allow for the session, the above screen is what we are met with. We chose a relatively low level of CPU power to share, so clicking confirm.
That’s it. We’re now mining. You’ll notice it tells us how many hashes per second we are mining and how many hashes we have mined in total. It also tells us how long we’ve been on the site.
If we do some napkin calculations, assume 1 minute is 600 hashes, that translates to around 36,000 hashes an hour, or about 850,000 for 24 hours.
The Coinhive website calculates 0.000053 XMR per 1 million hashes. That’s currently worth around 1 cent at $250 per Monero (XMR). If we are more kind, and give 100% of our pretty fine CPU, then it would probably be around 3 cent for 24 hours of keeping that page open.
However, if we time that by 1,700 currently donating, then we’re speaking of $5 per 24 hours. Better than nothing, $5 can go a long way in some places, but it is very much pennies.
That’s especially when we consider the extra use of energy to mine this fiver. We don’t have the resources to do those calculations even on a napkin basis, but it would not surprise us at all if the extra combined energy cost is more than $5.
It is however an experiment, and we do hope Unicef keeps us updated of the eventual results, including whether traditional donation methods are affected during what we presume is a trial run.