Crypto exchange Binance has donated $1 million in cryptocurrency to Binance Charity, which will use the funds to help the Australian bushfires relief efforts. The fires, estimated to be the worst in decades, have wrought havoc across the country. They’ve killed dozens of people, left millions of animals dead, and burned over six million hectares of land.
“It is painful to see the bushfires burning across Australia as well as the devastating effects on the ecology and local community. We want to help this urgent crisis,” said Changpeng Zhao, Binance CEO.
Zhao called on the crypto community to join the exchange in supporting the cause. “Donating for Australia Bushfires charity program is the most direct and effective approach to make an impact,” he said.
Of course, not the whole of the community: Binance only accepts donations its own coin, BNB. It’s the eighth most popular cryptocurrency, according to data from metrics site CoinMarketCap; BNB’s market cap has been steadily falling, along with the price, since the cryptocurrency market took a downturn in July.
“We will reach out to as many local organizations and communities as possible to pass on the donations we receive in crypto to the hands of each beneficiary,” said Zhao. But, since Binance only accepts—and disburses—donations in cryptocurrencies, it can only give to charities that accept cryptocurrencies. And there are few charities in Australia that accept crypto donations.
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Helen Hai, the former business magnate who heads Binance Charity Foundation, said, “We feel for the people who have suffered losses in this natural disaster and we strongly want to do our part to help.”
Previous initiatives Hai headed include the construction of numerous business parks in Africa, netting her a string of awards in the commercial world; for Binance Charity, however, she’s overseen the “Lunch for Children” campaign, which provided, well, lunch for children. The campaign received, according to its website, around $110,000 in donations. Decrypt looked into it, and the school teachers who oversaw donations seemed happy at the time (although we haven’t asked them what they thought of bitcoin’s plummeting price toward the end of 2019).
Crypto community get behind Australian bushfires efforts
Binance isn't the company fundraising for the fires in crypto. Another charitable initiative comes from the founder of Nugget News, Alex Saunders, who’s promised to give any bitcoin donated to him to fund the bushfires.
"Many Australian exchanges are helping us to coordinate these efforts and we will share on-chain total amounts and the full amount when donated," Saunders told Decrypt. So far, the bitcoin address provided has received 1.45 bitcoin ($12,000).
Crypto exchange Coinspot has donated $5,000 to three charities helping with the Australian bushfires. It has provided a bitcoin donation address but it has received just 0.002 bitcoin ($14).
Additionally, comparison site Finder has announced a fundraiser for the Australian bushfires efforts. Donations will go to the NSW Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA). It accepts a range of cryptocurrencies and has received $409 in donations so far. Its YouTube channel calls for $50 million in donations.
Saunders added that he is in talks with Finder, Coinspot and Binance to see if they can work together on a unified fundraising push.