The primary use case for cryptocurrency in most wealthy countries is acquiring it and holding it, trading it, or using it in various other ways to make more money. In the developing world, where access to financial and banking systems is limited or nonexistent, innovative humanitarian organizations are piloting micro-blockchain ecosystems.
In the summer of 2021, Hope for Haiti was ready to launch a cryptocurrency pilot program to provide 150 mothers with cellphones, digital wallets and payment cards that use near-field communication technology. Each mom participating in its community nutrition program was set to receive $50 per month in cUSD for six months to spend on family essentials. A select group of local vendors was trained to use the system and poised to accept the cryptocurrency payments. On Aug. 14, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake rocked Haiti’s Tiburon Peninsula, decimating the area.
Hope for Haiti had to delay the project and immediately shifted to disaster relief. The organization received thousands in cryptocurrency donations in short order. Skyler Badenoch, Hope for Haiti’s CEO, tells Magazine: “We probably brought in a hundred grand in crypto to support our earthquake relief efforts. Whether it was $50,000 in Bitcoin from Binance Charity. [..] We were getting Ethereum donated to us. We got $10,000 in Dogecoin donated to us. It came from all over.”
EMERGENCY APPEAL: Thousands lost lives, property & access to basic needs after the devastating #HaitiEarthquake. We call on our community of #crypto donors to come together & support crucial relief work being done by @HopeforHaitiFL & others on the ground https://t.co/dUZX4n7dJu pic.twitter.com/zVDk8qPXUu
— Binance Charity (@BinanceBCF) August 24, 2021
Just a year earlier, Sandra Uwantege Hart, who at the time was Oxfam International’s blockchain innovations and cash transfer lead, was preparing to launch a cryptocurrency pilot in the south Pacific Ocean country of Vanuatu. After a successful first effort in the region, Uwantege Hart was…