High-Profile Crypto Leaders Dig Deep for Indian COVID Crisis

Several high-profile individuals are putting their hands in their crypto wallets and making large donations to help India fight a devastating second wave of COVID.

Ethereum co-founder Vatalik Buterin, former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan and Tron CEO Justin Sun are all contributing to the Indian COVID fund set up by Polygon co-founder and COO Sandeep Nailwal.

The funds collected will be used to buy oxygen, medical supplies, food and possibly vaccines, assisting the poorest inhabitants in their battle to survive.

Big names call on global crypto community

Following a Nailwal tweet on April 25, the ‘big three’ rallied to throw their crypto weight behind the relief campaign.

In a call-out to the global crypto community, Nailwal promised to take full responsibility for ensuring the fund was managed in a transparent and fully compliant way.

  • Buterin has donated 100 ETH and 100 MKR, amounting to approximately $US650,000.
  • Srinivasan has reportedly contributed $US50,000 in ETH, with another $50 donated every time his appeal is retweeted (up to a total of $100,000).
  • Sun is donating 2 million TRX, which is worth around $US228,000, with another $100 contributed for every retweet of his own appeal (up to a total of $100,000).

Calling for donations to ease the desperate Indian situation, their combined efforts will help reach the widest possible number of global crypto enthusiasts.

Will Indian authorities embrace the move?

With the Indian Government preparing legislation that could outlaw private cryptocurrencies, the donors don’t know how their relief package will be received by authorities.

According to Tanvi Ratna, CEO of Policy 4.0—a consultancy focused on digital currencies and blockchain—incoming foreign funds for charitable purposes are also very closely monitored.

However, the dire situation on the ground in India may make the substantial funds more welcome, despite these obstacles.

Dark days: the current Indian situation

As reported by BBC World, India’s death toll passed 200,000 on April 28, with hospitals at breaking point.

Medical centres have run out of vital oxygen supplies, leaving COVID victims dying in the streets and hospital car parks.

While Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the nation has been “shaken” by the recent surge of infections—the country’s second wave—he is also being blamed for failing to take effective action to prevent and deal with the growing crisis.

On April 25, the Guardian reported close to 350,000 new cases—a record for a single country.

Global governments are also pitching in with promises of oxygen, medical supplies and funding to help the country battle the COVID surge.

When the immediate crisis has passed, Srinivasan hopes that cryptocurrencies can boost start-up fortunes and spur economic growth across the Indian continent.


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