On April 15, the world watched in horror as the majestic, soul-lifting Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris was engulfed in flames. By the time firefighters were successful in extinguishing the fire, the building had sustained colossal damage, leaving a gaping hole where the enormous vaulted roof once stood. Binance, one of the major crypto exchanges, has launched a crypto donation program in light of the tragedy that befell the historic cathedral Notre Dame.
In order to help rebuild the monumental cathedral, Binance initiated a donation program dubbed “Rebuild Notre Dame” on April 16, calling the crypto community to join hands in restoring the medieval marvel.
On April 15, 2019, a fire broke out on the roof of the historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France
— Binance (@binance) April 17, 2019
The exchange launched this new crypto fundraising channel on its platform dedicated to charitable causes, which itself was initiated by Binance’s very own social project The Blockchain Charity Foundation (BCF).
At the time of writing, the campaign has accumulated donations in different cryptocurrencies: 28 donations in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Binance’s native Binance coin (BNB), with total amounting to 1.46 bitcoins (about $7,577).
Binance’s Blockchain Foundation introduced the blockchain-powered donation platform back in October last year at the World Investment Forum, organized by the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The platform was launched with an aim to bring transparency and inclusiveness in the blockchain donation ecosystem. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao hoped that it would be able to trigger donors’ willingness to participate in legitimate charitable causes.
If you look at the first few UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as poverty, hunger, health and even education, these are easily addressed or improved by the charity initiatives. Yet, what we’re trying to do is a level deeper. I believe that by improving transparency in the charity sector, we will be able address all 17 goals as a whole, at a more fundamental layer.
In addition to ensuring full transparency and accountability, the platform also ensures donations’ direct reach to end recipients. The platform has run a few charitable campaigns in the past as well, the “Lunch for Children” being one of them.
BCF introduced its charity campaign “Lunch for Children” in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, earlier this year in February with an aim to provide two meals a day during the full year of 2019 to more than 200 students and school staff. According to reports, the program is just a part of a larger campaign by Binance that plans to benefit around one million students in schools across other poverty stricken countries such as Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Another campaign introduced by BCF aimed at aiding victims of the 2018 landslide disaster in Uganda. The foundation created virtual asset wallets for all the victims who were in dire need of assistance. The foundation took it upon itself to teach the people how to use those wallets so they could keep a track of the donations and where were they being spent.
Most of Binance’s charity campaigns were welcomed and praised by crypto enthusiasts. However, the same doesn’t hold true for “Rebuild Notre Dame” campaign. It wasn’t well received by the exchange’s followers as Binance’s announcement tweet was followed by a string of disappointed and “eye-rolling” tweets. Apparently, a handful of people believe that the exchange’s charity campaign is misplaced.
In addition to Binance, Blockshow, an international blockchain event powered by Cointelegraph, has also initiated a campaign to raise cryptocurrency for Notre Dame’s reconstruction. Two digital currency wallet addresses were posted on Twitter where anyone interested can transfer donations in both bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH).
The Era of Crypto-Philanthropy
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology have altered various industries; however, much of it has been focused on financial gains. As with great power comes great responsibility, a handful of crypto driven projects have realized are now leveraging this new technology for philanthropic purposes.
GiveCrypto.org is the brainchild of Brian Armstrong, CEO of one of the largest crypto exchanges, Coinbase. The charity is dedicated to financially empowering people by distributing cryptocurrency globally. The platform helps people to connect to an open financial system so they have access to basic financial services.
The Bitcoin Cash Association Initiative
The association launched an initiative that sends around $1,000 in Bitcoin Cash (BCH) monthly to two campaigns that are dedicated to feeding the hungry in trouble struck countries. One of the campaigns is in South Sudan while the other one is in Venezuela, as both countries are suffering from economic turmoil. The campaign lends a helping hand to those in need by purchasing food via BCH.
The organization, started by an anonymous donor claims to be among the 250 largest holders of bitcoins in the world, has already given away $20 million worth of the currency to 13 organizations, including million-dollar donations to the Water Project which provides clean water to people in sub-Saharan Africa.
The future of crypto-philanthropy seems promising as crypto-powered charity campaigns increase donations through bitcoin and other digital currencies become more commonplace and acceptable.