In brief

  • Binance Charity donates 27,000 KN95 masks to the NHS.
  • The donation comes as part of Binance's "Crypto against COVID" campaign.
  • The UK health and safety watchdog warns that the KN95 masks might not be fit for purpose.

Binance's philanthropic arm, the eponymous Binance charity, has donated £50,000 ($61,611) worth of KN95 face masks to the UK National Health Service (NHS) as part of its "Crypto Against COVID" campaign.

Binance's "crypto against COVID" is in full swing. Image: Binance

All 27,000 of the KN95 masks will go to The Princess Royal University Hospital—one of London's key teaching hospitals.

"We'd like to thank Binance for being a strong member of our community and contributing to the fight against COVID-19," said Dr Tarun Singhal, Senior Surgeon at Princess Royal University Hospital. "We hope this contribution will inspire other technology firms in London to contribute to our community as well." 

The donations will likely come as a welcome surprise. Since the coronavirus outbreak, supplies of personal protection equipment (PPE) have been slim. To make matters worse, the UK government has been accused of failing to stockpile PPE in late January as the pandemic progressed in China. A paper published by the National Audit Office (NAO) earlier this month, revealed that the failure to stockpile led to a significant shortage of PPE for front line workers in the UK.

"This crisis has strained medical institutions around the world," explained Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao. "Binance Charity has responded and provided valuable supplies to ensure the health and safety of medical workers. Binance will continue to be a force for good wherever it is needed." 

Launched in March, the "Crypto Against COVID" campaign, spearheaded by Binance Charity, aims to facilitate over $4 million donations to coronavirus struck areas all over the world. Striving to show that the charity sector can be transparent, the campaign notifies donors every step of the way, from informing on mask manufacturers to photo evidence of healthcare workers receiving the PPE.

But the donation seems to go against government guidance. Earlier this month, the UK watchdog for health and safety issued an alert warning against the use of KN95 masks as PPE due to a lack of quality controls.

According to the watchdog, while their performance is broadly similar to the EU standard, products manufactured to KN95 specifications rely on a self-declaration of safety. In other words, there is no independent certification for the quality of KN95—something which has led to bogus masks flooding the market. However, Binance informs us that the NHS verified the masks were safe to use.

The number of confirmed UK cases of coronavirus have now hit 300,000, but with just 1,000 new cases per day, the impact of the virus is declining.

This article has been updated to show that the NHS approved the masks for use.