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When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the crypto community mobilized to donate funds to the Ukraine Government and NGOs operating in the region. With millions of dollars in cryptocurrency coming in from around the world, the uncensorable nature of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others proved critical to providing aid where needed.
But while the mainstream media continues to focus on Ukraine, several crypto projects and DAOs have turned their attention to providing aid to earthquake-torn Turkey and Syria.
Launched in 2019, Endaoment is a 503c non-profit organization that aims to encourage and manage cryptocurrency’s charitable giving. Last month, after several massive earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria, crypto donations began pouring into the region.
“This is a community that is very rights and sovereignty focused, so it was very easy for them to grasp and feel empowered to be an activist about the invasion of Ukraine by Russia,” Endaoment President and CEO Robbie Heeger told Decrypt at ETH Denver. “In the case of the [Turkey and Syria] earthquakes, also a terrible tragedy, but a natural one, we’re seeing great donation activity—but not at the same scale as when Russia invaded Ukraine,” he said.
Heeger added that many still donate to traditional disaster relief efforts to help.
Like Ukraine DAO before, Turkey Relief DAO was launched after the earthquake in Turkey to raise funds to send to government agencies and NGOs operating inside the disaster area. Turkey Relief DAO aims to raise awareness of the organizations working to help those affected by the earthquakes.
“I’ve been very close to the earthquake in [Turkey] 1999, so I know what hardship is going on right now on the ground,” Turkey Relief DAO founding member and co-founder of Huma Finance Erbil Karaman told Decrypt at ETH Denver. “Fundraising efforts have been hard because the media lose attention immediately—we don’t see it anywhere anymore.”
Karaman says Turkey Relief DAO works with the Turkey government and NGOs to set up wallets on 18 chains to collect donations and send them where needed.
“There have to be more efforts coming into rebuilding all these cities and these people’s lives for the next year or two,” Karaman said.
In February, Huma Finance, the project co-founded by Karaman, raised $8.3 million in funding after winning an award at ETH Denver 2022 on the conference’s decentralized finance track.
“We’ve been so fortunate because of our success,” Karaman said. “We’ve had insane support from the Ethereum and surrounding communities. Companies joining in the raise include Circle Ventures, Race Capital, Request Network, and Superfluid.