Donations for victims are being accepted through Bahamas-based nonprofit Lend a Hand Bahamas, which has partnered with both Coinbase and BitPay to allow those in need to accept monetary donations in the form of cryptocurrency.
The money, according to the nonprofit, will go to both adult and youth initiatives for anyone relocating to Nassau from either the Abaco or Grand Bahama islands. Some of the funds will also be used for educational programs designed to assist evacuees in returning to their lives once the storm has cleared.
Aside from crypto, people can also donate traditional fiat and essential goods, such as toilet paper, batteries, formula, flashlights and other everyday necessities.
According to its website, Lend a Hand Bahamas was created to “bring more activities and opportunities to socio-economically disadvantaged areas of the Bahamas through hands-on 4H based programming and enhanced collaboration with local, national and global nonprofits, corporations, foundations and individuals.” The company was founded in 2013 by Edmund Dorsett, Valentino Brown and Lucas Metropulos with the aim of building a community center for local children.
While headquartered in Nassau, the organization has developed other volunteer centers on the islands of Abaco, Bimini and Grand Bahama. They are now looking to develop more partnerships with ventures outside the country, leading them to exchanges like Coinbase.
This isn’t the first time that cryptocurrency has been utilized for disaster relief purposes. The idea has garnered serious traction over the past few years with many individuals using digital assets to provide monetary aid to victims of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Texas in 2017.
Blockchain technology has also been utilized to assist Syrian refugees. Recent examples include the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), which saw approximately 10,000 people take part in a blockchain trial that involved sending food to refugees in Jordan using the Ethereum network. The platform was launched by Parity Technologies—a tech startup founded by Gavin Wood, who also co-founded Ethereum.