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India Crypto Covid Relief Fund: What is it and how does it work?

Sandeep Nailwal, co-founder of Polygon that aims to build and connect Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks, took to Twitter on April 24 to announce that he is setting up a crypto Covid relief fund to help those in need

Anwesha Madhukalya | May 14, 2021 | Updated 16:31 IST
India Crypto Covid Relief Fund: What is it and how does it work?
How the cryptocurrency fund for coronavirus relief works

Some of India's best crypto minds have come together to do their bit as India struggles to contain coronavirus. Spearheading the crypto drive to help COVID-19 patients is India's Crypto Covid Relief Fund. The donations they receive are being used to provide healthcare and essentials to those fighting Covid-19. The footwork for the fund has been laid down by some of the most-trusted names in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Sandeep Nailwal, co-founder of Polygon that aims to build and connect Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks, took to Twitter on April 24 to announce that he is setting up a crypto Covid relief fund. He called for the global cryptocurrency to help and - voila! They answered.

Since it was money that he was asking, Nailwal assured donors of transparency. "I will take full responsibility for transparency, funds usage and regulatory compliance," he said. India's Crypto Covid Relief Fund, true to Nailwal's words, has easily accessible details of the current crypto holdings, crypto to bank and bank to grants.

The relief fund accepts donations in different kinds of cryptocurrencies including Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin. Nailwal has shared addresses (which are essentially complex alphanumerical keys) for each of the cryptocurrencies. Crypto enthusiasts can use these addresses to make donations.

To keep record of the contributors, Nailwal has shared a Google Form. The form has basic questions including name, contact details (email, WhatsApp, Telegram, Twitter, etc), transaction link. Nailwal feels the need to connect to the contributors can arise due to regulatory issues.

Naliwal also reached out to India's top crypto exchanges WazirX, CoinDCX and Bitbns to convert the donations to fiat money to help people on the ground.

There were also those who came forward to help Naliwal on their own. Nailwal said that multiple people offered to manage accounts, and help publish a transparency document.

"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," he tweeted.

As more people joined the initiative, a group on Discord app was made, workflow was organised on Airtable, and a transparency dashboard was created.

Sandeep Nailwal, co-founder of Polygon

A bank account with digital bank FV Bank was also created and talks for FCRA approvals were finalised. The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) regulates acceptance and utilisation of foreign funds to prohibit activities detrimental to national interest.

Soon after regulatory clearances, funds started rolling in.

"BOOM We got money in the bank! Will be inviting reputed ppl to constantly audit the account. In 3 days we have the entity set & Crypto to Fiat conversion into the bank. Ready to roll the immense help from Crypto Community to the people on the ground. 1st Deployment incoming," announced Nailwal on Twitter on April 28, four days after the first post. The balance was $1 million. But that's increased and stands at $1,074,889,088.28 at the time of writing this piece.

The biggest contribution has come from co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, who has donated $1 billion worth of meme coin Shibtoken. Former Australian cricketer Brett Lee has also donated 1 Bitcoin, which at current value equals to a little over $50,000, to the relief fund.

On April 30, the fund transferred $999,900 or Rs 7.4 crore to ACT Grants that aims to provide oxygen for everyone with over 50,000 oxygen concentrators across the country.

The fund was also used to donate 1,000 oxygen cylinders. On May 5, the fund volunteers came to know of the Operation Samudra Setu-II, under which the Indian Navy was carrying 1,000 oxygen cylinders donated by Kuwaiti government. There was still space for 3,000 more in the ship. So, the fund donated an additional 1,000 cylinders.

Meanwhile, Naliwal has also thanked Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin for his big contribution to the relief fund.

Also read: Covid-19 vaccination: India vs the world

Also read: Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin donates $1 bn worth of meme coins to India COVID relief fund

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