The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund Australia (UNICEF Australia) has launched a new website that aims to raise money through cryptocurrency mining.
The Hopepage harnesses the processing power of each visitor’s computer to generate real funds for extremely worthwhile causes.
How the Hopepage works
With this novel idea, UNICEF Australia has turned cryptojacking – a form of cyber piggybacking whereby the software is used to target processing power in order to mine cryptocurrency.
Upon reaching the Hopepage, visitors are prompted to ‘Start Donating’, after which they must decide how much processing power to donate for solving cryptocurrency algorithms.
The longer the user stays on page, the more processing power they donate, the more algorithms get solved, thus earning cryptocurrency.
This is then automatically donated to UNICEF Australia and turned into fiat currency for the provision of life-saving supplies such as safe water, therapeutic food, and vaccines.
UNICEF is quick to point out that mining is perfectly safe for your computer and if you’re worried about energy consumption to simply turn down the amount of processing power you’re donating.
UNICEF is no stranger to crypto-based funding
UNICEF clearly believes that the technologies surrounding cryptocurrencies can be used to harness generosity and raise additional funds.
Earlier this year, it asked PC gamers to install software on their machines to mine Ethereum. There was even talk of using blockchain to create transparency around aid donations under a project called ‘Donercoin’.
However, UNICEF Australia’s digital engagement and content manager Tony Andres Tang knows that concerns over security and privacy are obvious challenges to overcome.
“We are transparent in the fact we are borrowing a computers’ processing power, and provide the ability to choose how much power is donated,” Tang told iTnews.
“HopePage is entirely user initiated, and they have the ultimate power to decide whether to participate or not.”
The platform behind the Hopepage
UNICEF Australia’s Hopepage is powered by AuthedMine, an opt-in version of the Coinhive API, which is also used to mine Monero within the user’s browser.
Despite the fact browser-based cryptocurrency mining has been around since at least 2011, the original version of Coinhive used to get blocked by anti-malware and advertising tools.
“Much like a malware infection by a malicious bot or Trojan, Coinhive’s code frequently locks up a user’s browser and drains the device’s battery as it continues to mine Monero for as long a visitor is browsing the site,” security journalist Brian Krebs said.
Thankfully, the Hopepage uses a newer version of the API, known as AuthedMine, which explicitly asks users to opt into the software.
Even so, UNICEF Australia has still advised users to disable their ad blocker in order to participate.
“Some ad blockers do disable the script, however we ask that people that seek to donate disable this for our website,” Tang added.
“This is not dissimilar to media and news outlets requesting you to disable ad blockers to view their content. While it has potential to limit some users, we are still capturing new audiences we wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.”