Mining Crypto is Not Charity

My family has supported UNICEF for as long as I can remember. I grew up with their gorgeous  puzzles that featured all the colors and kids of the world. Over the past many years I’ve donated to various charities, but UNICEF has always been a staple that I’ve given to on a monthly basis. It’s probably been more than a decade now.

Last week I cancelled my membership and today I joined instead the World Wildlife Fund. I don’t see myself coming back to UNICEF, and given the history my family has with this organization, this fact is crushing to me.

The reason I quit is that a few weeks ago, UNICEF launched The Hopepage, which mines cryptocurrency using your computer power. While this might seem smart on the face of it, in a world where climate change threatens everyone (and especially those UNICEF aims to aid), spending electricity looking for imaginary coins is the last thing we need. I find it to be a collossal lapse in judgement on part of UNICEF, and I cannot fathom how this project got past the idea stage. But because it did, I can’t trust the organization anymore. It may “only” be the Australian division that started this, but the reason I supported UNICEF in the first place was exactly that it was a global organization, one that had the reach and potential to effect real change.

Perhaps even worse is that by resorting to crypto mining, UNICEF is tying the practice of mining crypto-coin to a good cause. But it is not a good cause, it is an irresponsible use of power that the globe cannot afford, not now, not ever.

Sure, the blockchain has potential, and proof of stake based currencies sound like they could be promising. But so long as mining crypto costs the equivalent energy usage of a medium sized country, such computer power should be spent curing cancer, doing something real.

WWF fights climate change to protect nature, wildlife and the ecosystem necessary to sustain them, and incidentally us. As of now, they have my support.