Nonprofit group Oxfam has partnered with Australian tech startup Sempo and blockchain firm ConsenSys to trial stablecoin Dai for disaster response aid.
Founded in 1942, Oxfam is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organizations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty. Oxfam’s stated goal is to help people directly when local capacity is insufficient or inappropriate for Oxfam’s purposes, and to assist in the development of structures which directly benefit people facing the realities of poverty and injustice.
Oxfam is collaborating with Sempo and ConsenSys on a philanthropic initiative, called UnBlocked Cash, which is intended to place money directly in the hands of the victims of disasters. The companies conducted an extensive month-long trial in Vanuatu, a South Pacific Ocean nation made up of roughly 80 islands that stretch 1,300 kilometers.
During the trial, 200 residents in the villages of Pango and Mele Maat on the island of Efate were provided with tap and pay cards containing about 4000 vatu each ($50 USD). The cards were linked to an ethereum address credited by Oxfam with $50 worth of the stablecoin Dai. 34 local vendors, including shops and schools, were provided with Android smartphones to be able to accept payments.
Sempo co-founder Nick Williams claims that the project is the first time an NGO has used a stablecoin to provide aid anywhere, noting that this is not a one-off pilot as the company believes that using a stablecoin to allow the unbanked to access finance will completely change the way aid runs.
“For the first time ever, thanks to the use of a stablecoin, we now have end-to-end transparency, ensuring that the people who receive funds are the ones that need it,” It’s a game changer for Oxfam that ultimately makes our work easier and more effective.”
In November 2018, Oxfam launched a blockchain project, called Blockchain for Livelihood from Organic Cambodian Rice (BlocRice), to give bargaining power back to farmers in order to produce fairer deals with middlemen, traders and companies on price and other conditions.
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