On the 6th Day of Christmas Coinbase Gave Bitcoin to Syrian Refugees

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by Teuta Franjkovic · 5 min read
On the 6th Day of Christmas Coinbase Gave Bitcoin to Syrian Refugees
Photo: The Coinbase Blog

Coinbase decided to use 12 Days of Christmas promotion as their opportunity to help those in need and support GiveCrypto.org’s pioneering work. The exchange launched its new 12 Days of Coinbase initiative and is publishing new features and services every day.

In Coinbase they believe that cryptocurrencies provide the easiest and most accessible way to give money directly to those in need. With GiveCrypto.org’s innovative approach, recipients can actually turn around and use crypto to buy what they need — immediately, without fees and delays. That’s why they’ve used Day 6 of the 12 Days of Coinbase to support their new project that provides a basic income to more than 150 Syrian refugees in Greece.

Giving Away $10,000 BTC

Coinbase’s $10,000 gift in Bitcoin ($BTC) allows GiveCrypto.org to significantly expand on a model that has already allowed them and partner Sempo to support 15 Yazidi families in Kurdistan and 5 Syrian families in Beirut in 2018.

While organizations could provide this support in local currency, many in the refugee community don’t have access to financial institutions where they could receive and store donations. Meanwhile, even with access, fees end up eating into the cash aid.

Enter cryptocurrencies, Sempo and Givecrypto.org establish relationships with local vendors who are willing to act as providers of cash or goods in exchange for crypto. When paid via a program recipient’s wallet, the vendor can request to exchange their cryptocurrency for fiat. This system allows recipients to quickly put their donations to use, with crypto as the bridge.

In Coinbase they say:

“With Coinbase’s support, GiveCrypto.org is poised to support even more refugee families in Greece, where crypto transfers can do even more to support those rocked by unstable financial institutions and lack of access. This donation is just a start as Sempo and GiveCrypto.org get on the ground in Greece and understand how much they can scale their support. As they do, their capacity to offer financial support to more families will improve.”

They are also encouraging all of their clients to consider joining them in donating to organizations making open financial transactions possible for people everywhere:


The whole humanitarian event started on December 10th when this crypto exchange has published on its website the first announcement dedicated to the WeGift platform. Day 1 saw Coinbase announcing that users could buy gift cards so that family and friends could get some Uber, Adidas and Nike surprises through its U-gift program.

Thanks to the 12 Days of Coinbase initiative, the trading platform, with an estimated turnover of 1.3 billion dollars, aims to transform any skepticism related to the adoption of crypto in the physical world from impossible to possible.

In addition, these temporary collaborations, which include new services on the platform during the holiday period, offer the opportunity to directly test the response that their pool of users, which is around 20 million users, will have to the various initiatives proposed.

Second day was also dedicated to world crisis when Coinbase decided to give $10,000 worth of ZCash to families in Venezuela. They then said:

“This donation will put $1 USD worth of crypto directly into crypto wallets for 100+ families in Santa Elena de Uairen every day for three months. Recipients can purchase food and basic supplies at a local store that accepts payments in crypto.”

Why Crypto?

However, it wouldn’t be a if there weren’t for the “against-siders”.

Addressing their crypto give-away, software developer Udi Wertheimer lambasted what he viewed as a display of miserliness.

He tweeted:

“The ‘Venezuela meme’ has been overused by ‘crypto’ scammers for years now, but I’m shocked to see Brian do the same. Giving $1-worth of Zcash to Venezuelan families? (Get the f*ck out). Give them USD cash you piece of shit. Unbelievable[.]”

Coinbase’s publicity woes had continued from last week. Publishing an article about the exchange’s plans to introduce 30 new altcoins to its books, TechCrunch – perhaps inadvertently – gave it a URL describing Coinbase as “dabbling in shitcoins.”

Why give crypto rather than cash? Coinbase says that they are aware that many families lack reliable access to bank accounts, and even if they do, the Bolivar (the fiat currency of Venezuela) is highly inflated and volatile. As a result, cash gifts can be of little value to many of those in need. However, crypto and GiveCrypto.org’s network of vendors provides a direct, stable line of support.

In Coinbase they say:

“We’re proud to support GiveCrypto.org’s approach, which is underpinned by a growing body of evidence showing that direct-cash transfers are an effective way to help those in need. But we also know that this gift is just a start. GiveCrypto.org and peer organizations will need more support from us and the community as they create inroads where crypto can help.”

In Saturday, Coinbase decided to greet it’s U.S. customers with the possibility to instantly withdraw Coinbase balances to PayPal, providing even faster access to their funds through one of the world’s easiest and most widely-used payment platforms.

Bitcoin News, Cryptocurrency News, News
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