Mexican financial services platform AirTM has launched an initiative to help raise funds for displaced refugees suffering through Venezuela’s ongoing economic crisis.
Back in August, the online technology publication TechCrunch reported on how AirTM’s Venezuelan users are paying high fees to convert bolivars, the local Venezuelan currency, into just about anything else. Due to widespread corruption combined with decreasing oil prices, the once wealthy nation of Venezuela has been struck with extreme hyperinflation that has rendered its local currency almost worthless. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that inflation will increase by an almost unfathomable 1,000,000 percentage points this year.
In response, AirTM launched the website AirdropVenezuela.org in an attempt to raise funds equivalent to $1 million to donate to 100,000 verified Venezuelan’s with AirTM e-wallets. The funds will be raised in various forms of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), Dash (DASH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Zcash (ZEC), Ripple (XRP), Stellar (XLM), Komodo (KMD) and Horizen (ZEN).
The initiative has so far raised over $80,000 since it’s launch in late November, $32,000 of which was donated in the form of Bitcoin Cash (BCH). With many retailers now accepting cryptocurrency in the country, the money will help thousands of Venezuelans gain access to basic necessities such as food, water, and medicine.
It was recently reported that 2,427 merchants in the country are accepting payments in DASH through efforts initiated by The Dash Merchant Organization. One of the most well-known of these is popular fast food chain, KFC, which has begun accepting DASH payments at branches in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas.
In efforts to decouple the economy from its ties to the U.S. dollar, President Nicolas Maduro recently launched a government-run, oil-backed digital currency called the Petro. However, the rollout of the currency appears to have stalled and there are no signs of adoption amongst residents.