Coinbase joins NGO’s efforts using crypto to help Haitians impacted by earthquakes, civil unrest

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Major crypto exchange Coinbase has given a $150,000 grant to Hope for Haiti as part of a pilot program aimed at providing financial assistance to Haitians experiencing social and economic hardship. 

In a Tuesday announcement, Hope for Haiti said Coinbase would be making the $150,000 contribution to its pilot project with financial inclusion-driven firm Emerging Impact and the Celo Foundation. According to Celo, the project utilizes the Celo Dollar (cUSD) and Emerging Impact’s Umoja platform to provide cash-based assistance to mothers affected by some of the traumatic events in the Caribbean nation.

Haiti has been struck by four major earthquakes in the last 12 years, including a magnitude 5.3 quake on Monday, which reportedly left two people dead and 200 homes destroyed. However, the island nation’s capital city of Port-au-Prince was also significantly damaged by a magnitude 7 earthquake in 2010, followed by prolonged civil unrest that was, in part, connected to the current pandemic and the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in July.

Coinbase’s charitable arm, Coinbase Giving, provided the funds to be used for the benefit of roughly 1,500 Haitian people — those families with children enrolled in Hope for Haiti’s community nutrition program. The impacted individuals should be able to use the funds for goods and services at more than 30 participating merchants in Haiti, with the option for the vendors to cash out the digital funds using local money management service MonCash.

“This initiative with Hope for Haiti and Emerging Impact is particularly exciting because of how it uses blockchain-based technology to promote more efficient and effective giving, hopefully serving as an inspiration for ideas across the cryptoeconomy and philanthropic sectors,” said Coinbase Giving’s head Dominique Baillet.

Related: Blockchain folk hero Nandy Martin hopes to build a better community for Haitians in Miami

Many individuals and charitable organizations have employed crypto as a means of getting money into the hands of those who need it most following a natural disaster or are in a country experiencing political turmoil. After many in the Philippines were displaced or injured following typhoon Rai hitting the region in December 2021, the play-to-earn gaming group Yield Guild Games raised $1.4 million to help victims. Similarly, in the wake of the Texas Winter Storm in February 2021, some local disaster relief groups announced they would be accepting crypto donations.