Campaign to Raise $1 Mln in Crypto for Venezuelans
A charitable campaign to enable the direct transfer of $1 million in crypto donations to Venezuelans has registered around 60,000 verified beneficiaries and raised $272,000 to date. The news was revealed in an interview with the campaign’s leader, Steve Hanke, with National Public Radio on April 21.
Professor Hanke is a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University who reportedly served as economic adviser to former Venezuelan president Rafael Caldera between 1995 and 1996.
Professor Hanke outlined that the campaign, dubbed “Airdrop Venezuela,” is using the existing blockchain and bank-connected e-wallet infrastructure from Mexico-based startup AirTM. Alongside a native United States dollar-denominated crypto token, AirUSD, the e-wallet service also supports a further nine cryptocurrencies, according to a fall 2018 press release. Professor Hanke told NPR that the campaign aims to have 100,000 I.D.-verified Venezuelans registered as qualified to receive the $1 million in donations. Alongside the 60,000 registered beneficiaries, $272,000 has been raised since it its launch in fall 2018. In response to NPR’s question over reports that AirTM CEO Ruben Galindo has voiced a desire to work with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido in the future, Professor Hanke stressed that the intentions of AirDrop Venezuela are “purely humanitarian [...] there's really no particular political motivation. It's just to help people to give them some purchasing power.”
He underscored that the project aims to demonstrate how crypto can be used by relief agencies globally to securely and transparently deliver funds and aid to people in need. As the country weathers a still-ongoing political crisis and ongoing economic turmoil, bitcoin (BTC) trading volumes in Venezuela were reported to have reached an all-time-high in February of this year.
Cointelegraph has traced the increasingly vexed fate of Venezuela’s controversial national oil-backed cryptocurrency, petro (PTR), which officially launched in 2018. Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido dismissed incumbent president Nicolas Maduro’s plans for the petro as a scam as early as December 2017.