East Africa-based charity GiveDirectly has expanded into cryptocurrency with a $1 mln donation in crypto tokens from decentralized payment network OmiseGO, it announced Tuesday, March 27.
The donation, which OmiseGO contributed together with Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin, will see GiveDirectly continue an experimental scheme aimed directly at refugees, providing 12,000 grants to families in Uganda.
A pilot scheme has already seen 4,400 families receive $650, TechCrunch reported Tuesday, with the cryptocurrency experiment increasing the self-sufficiency of the process and reducing reliance on intermediaries.
“This is a major new chapter for us, entering the humanitarian space with a service to give money directly to refugees,” GiveDirectly’s head of communications Catherine Diao told the publication:
“While cash transfers have been used in humanitarian contexts before, this initiative is a significant departure from the status quo because we’re giving families transformative amounts of money versus small, subsistence amounts.”
The concept neatly fits in with OmiseGO’s own roadmap, which focuses on decentralization of banking and giving inclusivity to those traditionally shut out from the financial world.
Both before and since the Ethereum ICO boom, multiple successful projects have launched targeting the world’s least fortunate. These have included Vinny Lingham’s ID startup Civic, which funded its initial stages through an ICO last year, as well as payment-focused operations such as BitPesa, based in Kenya.
OmiseGO and GiveDirectly are meanwhile appealing for donations from prospective investors, who can send both Ethereum (ETH) and ERC20 tokens to a dedicated address.