Nick Chong · 6 days ago · 2 min read · Insights via Grayscale Investments
It’s no secret that we are in the middle of one of the worst refugee crises since World War II. Currently, there are more than 65 million people that are being displaced from their homes due to war and poverty. Often refugees are arriving in their new host countries with little to no money to start rebuilding their lives.
Thankfully, Ethereum wunderkind, Vitalik Buterin, and the OmiseGO Foundation announced an incredibly generous donation to refugees living in extreme poverty. The announcement states:
“We have some good news to share: OmiseGO, with an additional generous contribution from Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, is donating the equivalent of $1 million USD in OMG tokens directly to refugees living in extreme poverty, and GiveDirectly will deliver those funds.”
So, why did Buterin and OmiseGO make this latest donation?
Many people also find it difficult to re-enter into a formal financial system, as they have fled their countries and often don’t have the appropriate local documentation to start the process of opening a bank.
This is where the beauty of using a decentralized system comes in; refugees will be able to gain access to the funds without having to break through the many barriers and regulations that come with the traditional banking systems.
“Unbank the Banked”
OmiseGO is an open payment platform and decentralized exchange using Ethereum’s blockchain. “Unbank the Banked” is their slogan, precisely in line with Give Directly’s initiative.
They hope to provide better financial services for everyone, especially people in developing countries and locales which lack traditional banking infrastructures.
“They are precisely the people we wish to see benefiting from the “unbanking” effect that OMG is designed to create. We’re excited to plug them back in, transfer funds, and let them get to work.”
Give Directly is an NGO based in Uganda an Kenya, they locate impoverished communities by using publicly available data. They then send field staff out to digitally collect data on poverty and enroll people who met the criteria.
They target households using criteria that vary by region—including aggregating a range of factors or looking at housing materials.
Their website states:
“We use rigorous experimental research (randomized controlled trials) to measure our impact and answer public policy questions. Based on historical averages, we expect to put 88.4% of your donation into the hands of a recipient in East Africa.”
Every month, thousands of people receive unconditional cash transfers from GiveDirectly that transform their lives.
They use mobile payment technology to send donations to extremely low-income families in the developing world in the most capital-efficient way currently possible.
Therefore, when it was announced that they would be using cryptocurrency to further help the refugees, with the help of OmiseGO and Buterin, it was a logical step forward for the NGO.
You can help
The statement ends with a call to action, encouraging other members of the crypto community to help contribute to the global humanitarian crisis.
Jun, Founder of OmiseGO stated:
This is an open effort, and anyone is welcome to support it by sending contributions of ETH or ERC20 tokens to GiveDirectly’s Ethereum address. You can find the 0x address at the bottom of the official announcement.