Blockchain For Disaster Relief

Volunteering in Volcano Aftermath Made Me Realize We Need Crypto

On June 3, 2018, Fuego Volcano in Guatemala erupted like it hadn’t before. Those who live there were used to the volcano erupting — it goes off every 20 minutes every day. But, this time was different.

It buried villages. It shut down the airport in Guatemala City. It officially killed hundreds of people. Unofficially…it killed thousands.

The event made international news, which was unusual for the small, Central American country.

Fuego Volcano eruption — Photo by BBC

(BBC) “Fuego, about 40km (25 miles) south-west of the capital Guatemala City, spewed rock, gas and ash into the sky.”

(CNN) “The images show a town buried, nearly obliterated, by Sunday’s deadly volcanic eruption in Guatemala”

One of the affected citizens we helped. Her medical bills amounted to thousands of dollars.

First, people who aren’t hurt by the destruction check to make sure their loved one’s who are in the danger zone are okay.

Second, they look for a way to help.

The donations started to flow immediately.

Sending donations across borders isn’t as straight forward as you’d think. Material donations get taxed. They are imports, after all.

People making donations want to help. They want the money to go where it’s needed.

Large organizations have spotty track records. Tarnished by theft within the organization, questionable managerial costs or expenses, and other corruption accusations. Individual donors look for other options.

The most efficient option is to get cash to someone on the ground. Who better than someone you personally know?

Hundreds of GoFundMe pages were created overnight. When searching for “Fuego Volcano” in GoFundMe, there are 769 results. 769 separate funds. Another 585 when the search is for “Volcán de Fuego.” Then there are the funds started in German and other languages. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in thousands of funds.

Me and Juan Pablo, a volunteer fireman in Antigua, discussing the situation on our way to buy supplies.

Every single donation is charged a fee.

GoFundMe is easy, but it isn’t free. They charge 2.9% plus $0.30 payment processing for credit and debit card donations.

Example: A single donation of $1000 USD will be deducted $29.30 USD. That might not seem like much, but it adds up fast and those dollars go a long way in Guatemala. You can buy 25–35 tortillas for $1. If the donations come in via smaller denominations, there are even more fees. That’s a lot of tortillas.

Then there were the PayPal transfers. They’re free between US residents, but not between nations. Western Union and MoneyGram are commonly used remittance services which also charge exorbitant fees.

When there’s no transparency, corruption can siphon off a percentage of donations. Even the United States, which ranks 16/180 on the corruption scale (according to Transparency International), found that as much as $1.4bn of the $6bn in federal emergency relief for victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 went on improper or fraudulent payments. Think of how much worse the numbers are for countries that rank much lower!

If it had occurred to me to use Cryptoas an option, I could have started a fund myself. I was there, after all, but I didn’t know how.

Now I know that a crypto account is easy to set up. It’s a unique code. It’s like an email address or bank account number. It would be easy enough to share to receive donations.

The waiting room for the impromptu free clinic I volunteered wit

Now I know better and so do you.

New sites like Giveth and Alice are working on making the process as easy as GoFundMe without the fees, but you can do it on your own. Giveth is building and empowering communities and enabling new ways to make a difference.

Alice is a platform that brings transparency to social funding through blockchain technology.

Using new revolutionary tools, you can set up a wallet and receive blockchain tracked donations from anyone, anywhere!

Don’t know how?CoinYou.co can teach you (it’s designed for beginners).

When you are ready to give it a try, Changellyis a trusted exchange where different types of digital currency can be bought and sold with your credit card.

If you would like to learn more about how Crypto can be used to solve the core problems for the 2 billion people without a bank account, the one billion migrant workers in the world, go to CoinYou.Co


I didn’t know about this as an option before, but now I do and I’m working with CoinYou.co to reach people who need it most. My role is to teach, translate and develop multilingual curriculum to teach refugees and people without bank accounts how to send and receive Crypto.

To support my efforts with CoinYou.co, please use the following links:

Changelly— Instantly buy crypto with your credit/debit card

LocalBitcoin— Meet with local people or do distance peer-to-peer crypto trading.

Binance — One of the biggest exchange with the many coins to trade.

CEX — A crypto exchange available for most countries in the world.

Trezor — A hardware wallet. An offline device where you can store your crypto.

January 29, 2019

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