A charitable campaign that would facilitate the transfer of $1 million worth of crypto donations to Venezuelans has registered roughly 60,000 beneficiaries and raised $272,000 so far. This news comes via an interview with the campaign’s leader, Steve Hanke, with National Public Radio (NPR) yesterday.
Steve Hanke is a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Hanke previously served as an economic advisor to former Venezuelan president Rafael Caldera between 1995 and 1996.
Hanke noted that the campaign, nicknamed “Airdrop Venezuela,” is employing existing blockchain and e-wallet infrastructure from Mexico-based startup AirTM, which, according to its official site, allows users to “use your local currency to access dollars as if you were in the United States. From any country, safely, and with less fees,” and supports more than 200 payment methods, including nine cryptocurrencies.
In his interview with NPR, Hanke said that the goal of the campaign, which began in the Fall of 2018, is to have 100,000 I.D.-verified Venezuelans registered to receive $1 million in crypto donations. That would average out to each registered citizen receiving about $10 worth of crypto — potentially enough to pique their interest in cryptocurrency and familiarize them with how to receive, store, and send crypto.
Responding to the interviewer’s question about reports that AirTM CEO Ruben Galindo has communicated a desire to work with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido at some point in the future, Hanke stated that the intentions of his campaign are “purely humanitarian … there’s really no particular political motivation. It’s just to help people to give them some purchasing power.”
Hanke went on to make the point that the project has the ability to demonstrate how crypto donations can be used by relief agencies to send funds to people in need in a safe and transparent way. Indeed, Venezuela is a good testing ground for such a proposition, as the country has been ravaged by rampant inflation and has entered into a full on financial crisis under President Nicolas Maduro.