Nonprofit GiveDirectly Receives $1 Million Donation from OmiseGo and Ethereum Creator Vitalik Buterin

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A charity that sends money directly to the world’s ‘extreme poor’ has revealed that it has received a $1 million donation from cryptocurrency startup OmiseGo and Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin.

GiveDirectly, a nonprofit charity that is aiming to help refugees living in extreme poverty, will put those funds towards its campaign in Uganda. It is aiming to provide over 12,000 refugee households a grant that will enable opportunities to help change their lives.

Last year, the nonprofit launched a pilot test that reached 4,400 households, totalling around 21,500 individuals, who each received lump-sum transfers of $650. The money was invested into education and small businesses in addition to short-term consumer spending such as food and healthcare. Since then, GiveDirectly has said that it is ‘looking to scale significantly over the next year.’

Founded in 2009 and opened to the public in 2011, GiveDirectly was created by Paul Niehaus, Michael Faye, Rohit Wanchoo, and Jeremy Shapiro. Studying economic development at Harvard and MIT at the time, they were searching for the most effective way that enabled them to give money to reduce poverty. They discovered that cash transfers and the rapid development of the mobile payments technology in emerging markets had opened the door to delivering cash transfers that were secure and efficient.

According to the charity it delivers 85 percent of each dollar to those in need compared to regular charities. The cryptocurrency donation that GiveDirectly has received will be switched into the local currency before it is transferred via mobile services or a bank transfer. Through a live feed people can see how donations are impacting the lives of those receiving the money. The charity also undertakes thorough checks to ensure that recipients are eligible to receive cash transfers.

Writing in a blog post, Jun Hasegawa, CEO of OmiseGo, said:

“The crypto economy has grown immensely over the last year, bringing a great deal of wealth to many people and organizations within the ecosystem. In part we simply see an exciting opportunity to share that wealth. We hope the fortunes made in the crypto space will lead not to extravagant lifestyles but to extravagant generosity.”