Coinbase CEO and co-founder Brian Armstrong has launched a crypto funded charitable organisation to help distribute cryptocurrencies to those “who need it the most.” GiveCrypto, as the fund is called has already raised $3.5 million in donations with the goal of reaching $10 million by the end of the year.
The project aims to increase the reach of cryptocurrencies especially to the large unbanked populations in remote parts of the world. Eventually, Armstrong hopes the virtual currencies will help stir local economies in economically depressed regions.
“GiveCrypto.org’s mission is to financially empower people by distributing cryptocurrency globally. We will raise funds from cryptocurrency holders, and distribute small payments to people in need around the world — all using cryptocurrency. Initial recipients will be people living in emerging markets, especially those going through financial crisis,” Brian Armstrong wrote in a Medium post.
Unlike traditional models used by charity organisations, GiveCrypto will distribute the funds directly to the beneficiaries. One of the stated goals is to provide “a universal access to an open financial system” and promote real world usage of cryptocurrencies.
About 40 million people across are estimated to own cryptocurrency. These are mostly wealthy people with disposable income to invest in new technologies, says Armstrong.
Armstrong has made a personal donation of $1 million and called on other cryptocurrency holders to follow suit.
Open Financial System
“For cryptocurrency to reach its potential of creating a more open financial system and helping those locked out of traditional financial services, we need to create new use cases and broaden access,” he notes.
“We’ll start with direct-cash transfers in the form of cryptocurrency. An increasing body of evidence shows direct-cash transfers are a very effective form of giving, as they increase people’s income, boost food consumption and dietary diversity, and are tied to improved school attendance, health care visits, household savings, and investments in productive assets,” Armstrong noted in his post.
The fund may experiment is different distribution mechanisms in the future. For now, GiveCrypto wants to understand how people will utilise the funds. The target is to raise $1 billion over the next two years.
“Crypto has potential to be a great equalizer by lifting millions of people out of poverty while accelerating the pace of innovation around the world.”
Greater mobile phone ownership which often exceeds bank account ownership especially in developing countries means that cryptocurrencies have a better chance at penetration.
Cryptocurrency and blockchain start ups have been increasingly been involved in charity in the recent past. Ripple donated $29 million in March to fund school projects in the US through a crowd funding platform DonorsChoose.org.