Mar 02, 2023

$5.9M in Crypto Donations Aid Turkey, Syria Relief

In February 2021, devastating earthquakes struck Turkey and Syria, leaving many people in need of urgent aid. In response, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis estimates that approximately $5.9 million in cryptocurrency donations have been made to support relief efforts in the area.

Organizations such as the Turkish Ministry of Interior’s Earthquake Humanitarian Aid campaign, the Turkish Red Crescent, Save the Children and Project Hope have all received crypto-based donations. Additionally, major cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance, Bitfinex, OKX and KuCoin, have donated a total of more than $9 million to support victims in the region.

Cointelegraph contacted Chainalysis to learn more about the methodology used to monitor crypto-based donations for the relief efforts in Turkey and Syria. Kim Grauer, Chainalysis’ director of research, explained that the firm uses a combination of human intelligence, gathered by its experts, and proprietary heuristics to identify and monitor flows to cryptocurrency services. This includes organizations accepting donations and scams that have sought to divert donations from unwitting supporters.

According to Grauer, the speed of cryptocurrency transactions and the global nature of crypto transactions make them ideal technologies for quickly raising funds and getting them to where they are needed most. Additionally, the transparency of blockchains provides opportunities for aid organizations to track donations and for law enforcement to identify and trace illegitimate schemes.

Antonia Roupell, Web3 operations lead at Save the Children, told Cointelegraph that the organization first accepted Bitcoin (BTC) as a donation method following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013. Since then, the charity has raised $7.4 million in crypto donations.

Save the Children has also received cryptocurrency donations for its earthquake relief work in Turkey and Syria. Roupell highlighted many benefits of crypto-based donations compared with fiat-based donations, such as accessing a new and growing supporter base and the ability to code future donations through the smart contract functionality of specific NFTs. In the United States, tax benefits for donating cryptocurrency to charity have also led to an increase in donations at the end of the financial year.

However, Roupell noted that one downside to crypto donations is the anonymity of most cryptocurrency donors, which prevents the organization from thanking benefactors for their contributions.

Roupell believes that blockchain-based solutions have great potential to facilitate and support aid efforts around the world and that humanitarian organizations will play an increasingly important role in integrating and scaling access at grassroots levels. Save the Children accepts a variety of cryptocurrencies, as well as global fiat currencies and stocks, with a priority to raise funds to support global humanitarian responses.

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