Cryptocurrency’s utility in earthquake rescue efforts

Cryptocurrency’s utility in earthquake rescue efforts
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Turkish and Syrian organizations have made calls for donations in cryptocurrency in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes on February 6. Does cryptocurrency support or hinder humanitarian aid efforts in the region?

In efforts to expand fundraising for the humanitarian aid efforts ongoing in Turkey following the 7.7 and 7.5 magnitude earthquakes, organizations had begun to accept donations in the form of cryptocurrency.

Haluk Levent, the founder of AHBAP, an organization contributing significantly to the relief efforts in southeastern Turkey, had announced via Twitter that, “Many people around the world want to help with cryptocurrency.” According to Blockchain records, AHBAP received over 3 million dollars in crypto donations.

Financial Times analyzed the utility of cryptocurrency in times of humanitarian crisis, particularly with regard to the Turkey earthquakes. According to their report, anywhere from 5 to 10 million dollars in crypto donations have already been sent to Turkey and Syria.

Scott Chipolina writes for the Financial Times that, “An era of soaring prices and falling interest rates plays into the hands of crypto evangelists who claim digital assets such as bitcoin are a store of wealth and a hedge against inflation.” However, crypto currencies cannot be so easily used. Locals need to convert the currency to the lira and “withdraw newly converted fiat to their bank account.”

Though not impossible, the process prevents the immediate use of the funds. On the other hand, the sheer volume of the crypto donations, as was the case in donations made in support of the war in Ukraine, will be a boon to the rescue efforts.