The southwestern region of Japan experienced massive floods and mudflows during late June and the first two weeks of July 2018. On July 8th, Malta-based crypto exchange Binance’s management “called for action to remedy the disaster” - as the freshwater flood has damaged over 17,000 homes and caused at least 225 deaths.
Binance published a blog post on Medium (on October 24th) which explains how the crypto community responded to the exchange’s call to action. Binance’s update covers the time period from July 8th to September 21st.
Over $1.4 Million In Total Donations
So far, the charitable fundraising effort has “raised roughly $410,000 [and] more in crypto-donations at that time in 7 days, making a total donation valued at $1,410,000.” Crypto tokens donated so far are mostly Ethereum-based ERC-20 compliant tokens.
The exchange also asked non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Japan to help out as they were asked to “support the frontline donation operation.” Per Binance, there were four types of organizations that satisfied this requirement.
These included: ”on-site, direct/immediate support, and openness to cryptocurrencies.” Binance has now reported that “as of October 15”, it has received donations of about 56,700,000 Japanese yen (appr. $403,500) - an amount valued at approximately 63 Bitcoin (BTC).
The donations have reportedly helped over 41,200 victims from three prefectures including Hiroshima, Ehime, and Okayama.
Miss Bitcoin Mai Converts Crypto To Fiat
Explaining how the funds were handed out, Binance’s blog post noted that a local supporter known as Miss Bitcoin Mai agreed to accept about $400,000 in BTC - which “she converted … to JPY and bank-transferred 25 million JPY to Peace Winds Japan and 25 million JPY to Momotaro Fund.”
Founded in 1996, Peace Winds Japan is a charitable organization focused on providing humanitarian relief during emergencies such as natural disasters. Meanwhile, the Momotarou Fund aims to support “victims in Okayama by subsidizing local communities, NPOs, and other organizations.”
The Binance-led second round of donations was reportedly conducted by “directly” using cryptocurrencies. According to the exchange’s blog, Open Japan, a charity that provides volunteers to assist in clean-up efforts after disasters, “opened a cryptocurrency account, and Binance has transferred 169.85 ETH” - an amount valued at about $34,000.
"Growing Effect" Of Cryptocurrencies
Commenting on the success of Binance’s donation operation, Open Japan said:
It wasn’t difficult to get our account set up, and once everything was ready Binance contacted us to proceed with the donation. It was carried out instantly, and after confirming the transfer we were able to convert it to Japanese yen. Receiving this donation left us with a deep impression of cryptocurrency: both its growing effect on our world and its potential.
As CryptoGlobe reported in late September, San Francisco-based fintech firm, Ripple Labs, announced a generous $100 million philanthropic effort called “Ripple For Good.” Ken Weber, the head of social impact at Ripple, explained that the initiative is aimed at educating and empowering the underprivileged members of society.