When the second wave of Covid run havoc in India leading to the extreme shortage of medical supply and hospital infrastructure, the crypto community came forward for help. Indian crypto entrepreneur and co-founder of Ethereum second-layer scaling solution Polygon (earlier Matic) Sandeep Nailwal launched a crypto covid relief fund. The relief fund was created in April and gathered a lot of international support with the most notable donation coming from Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin himself.
Can't take this sitting down anymore, I am going to run a Covid relief campaign in lieu of what’s going on in India.
Need help from the Global crypto community.
I will take full responsibility for transparency, funds usage and regulatory compliance
If you want to donate.. 1/n
— Sandeep – Polygon (@sandeepnailwal) April 24, 2021
Buterin donated 50 trillion Shiba Inu coins from his wallets which were transferred by the Shiba Inu creators at the time of the meme coin launch to gain attention. At the time of Buterin’s donation, the total valuation of the donated meme token was about $1 billion. However, the price has declined by over 50% since then and the value of Buterin’s donation has come down to $400 million.
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) April 24, 2021
Many other sports celebrities including Brett Lee and Patt Cummins also donated towards the fund in cryptocurrencies.
80% of the Relief Fund Liquidated
The relief fund faced several hurdles in liquidations due to the regulatory uncertainties and India’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act. The creators had to liquidate the tokens in the US Dollar first and then into the Indian rupee. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Nailwal revealed that nearly 80% of the funds have been liquidated until now.
A total of $20 million have been donated towards covid relief and another $20 million is in the pipelines until now. The creators of the project are working tirelessly to ensure India doesn’t face a similar situation as the third wave is expected to hit soon. Nailwal said they have been cautious with the disbursement due to the regulatory hurdles and also promised to offer independent audit reports to ensure transparency.
The focus of the project has been to reach the grass root levels where medical facilities haven’t been available in plenty. The project is setting up small intensive care units with ICU bed facilities and more. The difficulties in the liquidation of funds highlighted the need for better regulations in the country and how it can hamper a novel deed.