Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin has contributed 100 Ether (ETH) and 100 Maker (MKR) tokens to a COVID-19 relief fund, as the country finds itself embroiled in the virus’ second wave. Buterin contributed to a “crypto-COVID” relief fund set up on the cryptocurrency custodian platform, Gnosis Safe.
Public transactions on the Ethereum blockchain show two transactions coming from one of Buterin’s wallets on April 24. The Ethereum creator sent 100 ETH and 100 MKR to the relief fund, representing dollar values of $220,000 and $400,000 respectively.
The donation drive was set up by Polygon (MATIC) co-founder Sandeep Nailwal. On April 24, Nailwal’s Twitter feed exploded after he sent out a rallying cry to help the COVID-19 situation in India. The Polygon co-founder tweeted:
“Can’t take this sitting down anymore, I am going to run a Covid relief campaign in lieu of what’s going on in India. Need help from the Global crypto community. I will take full responsibility for transparency, funds usage and regulatory compliance If you want to donate…”
Nailwal then set up a Google form for would-be donors, and asked for help from some of India’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges and institutions such as WazirX, CoinDCX and Bitbns. He tweeted:
“Will need help from players like @WazirXIndia, @CoinDCX, @bitbns to help convert the donations into fiat and be able to donate to ground people.”
Concerns were raised when Nailwal revealed he’d found resistance from people who wanted to donate but were worried about regulatory friction. Nailwal later revealed he’d received support from one of India’s top chartered accountants, who had agreed to take care of the regulations and audits for the campaign.
“Arguably India’s top CA in Crypto @Vacpad has agreed to lead the regulatory and audit part for this campaign Support is pouring in from everywhere. Indian Crypto founders are personally reaching out to help. Next step is to deploy the funds on the group. Ppl need help RIGHT NOW,” tweeted Nailwal.
The second wave of COVID-19 in India is expected to peak in the third week of May. The Indian government recently removed all customs duty from essential relief materials, particularly items related to the storage and deployment of medical grade oxygen.