Dark Inquiry Launches Bail Bloc Project

The Brown Institute announces the launch of the latest project from the Dark Inquiry Magic Grant team. 

Bail Bloc starts with the premise that cash bail streamlines mass incarceration by preventing low-income, usually people of color, from exercising their right to a fair trial. The team writes that “prosecutors and judges work in concert to coerce low-income people to accept plea deals in exchange for their release.” Much has been published recently about bail and the nation’s desperate need for bail reform.

In response, the Dark Inquiry team developed Bail Bloc, a small piece of software available to the public for download that volunteers spare computer processing power to “mine” for Monero, an anonymous cryptocurrency. The Monero mined by Bail Bloc is routed to the Bronx Freedom Fund to support The Bail Project, their new nation-wide initiative that provides bail to people charged with petty crimes. 

Dark Inquiry’s goal is to build compounding revenue generated from Bail Bloc to help The Bail Project secure the release of possibly thousands of low-income people from pre-trial incarceration, thereby diminishing the widespread function of cash bail to coerce guilty pleas. The team posits that this will restore the presumption of innocence, allowing people to wait for their day in court at liberty.

Bail Bloc is Dark Inquiry’s second example of what the team terms “rhetorical software.” These projects are technological interventions that prompt deep conversations about algorithms, about computation, and about real problems facing our society. 

More information about the launch can be found at bailbloc.thenewinquiry.com.

Coverage of the Bail Bloc project includes:

This App Mines Cryptocurrency On Your Computer–And Then Donates It – Fast Co Design

Blochchainify freedom by mining cryptocurrency for bail money – The Next Web

Your computer’s unused energy could be used to fund bail for US defendants – Quartz

You Can Now Mine Cryptocurrency to Bail People out of Jail – Vice News


Support for the technical research of The New Inquiry’s rhetorical software experiments is provided, in part, by The Brown institute for Media Innovation. Code for the project can be found on Github.