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Crypto donations pour in as India battles the second wave of COVID-19

Fast and transparent flows of crypto into India are funding COVID relief, said crypto expert Srinivasan

Famous names in the cryptocurrency industry including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin have contributed to the funds being raised for COVID-19 aid in India after the country recently recorded the highest cases since the pandemic began. The crypto donations come amid reports on the Indian government’s decision to ban holding and paying with all forms of digital assets in the country.

India, the world’s second-most populous country, has been hit by a damaging second wave since mid-February. The country recorded just under 350,000 cases yesterday with authorities struggling to handle the shortages in hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and medicines.

This led to donations pouring in from all over the world and prompted Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal to set up a cryptocurrency fundraising for COVID-19 crisis aid in India.  Vitalik Buterin donated 100 ETH and 100 MKR, valued at approximately $650,000, through the fundraiser.

Speaking about the regulatory barriers in accepting crypto donations in India, Nailwal said, “I already got a few people pinging me that regulatory things would be tough on this, it’s not easy to give money, even for social causes. My Answer is that ‘Our Hows should not affect our Why’.”

Another notable name in the list of donations was of crypto investor Balaji Srinivasan. Srinivasan took to Twitter to promote the fundraiser and promised to donate $50 for every retweet up to $100,000 through the COVID relief campaign. The campaign currently accepts contributions in Ethereum, Bitcoin, DOGE and Tron among other cryptocurrencies.

Indian crypto companies including the Binance-owned WazirX volunteered to help convert the crypto donations into local currency with the crypto-based development platform DevFolio taking charge of accounting for the donations and managing a completely transparent public record of its use, in accordance with the foundational principle of cryptocurrency.

“Today, fast and transparent flows of crypto into India are funding COVID relief. Tomorrow, we can use them to fund India’s small businesses and startups,” Srinivasan said, adding that this might encourage the government to rethink its decision.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in digital payments and coupled with Bitcoin’s rising prices, has led to cryptocurrency being closer to mass adoption than ever before.

However, as countries like India deliberate a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies, the only hope remains that its utility in a crisis like this one can demonstrate that the potential of digital assets lies far beyond just their use for illegal activities.

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