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150K in digital currency donated to help feed Haitian families, local merchants

The Haitian Times

Photo illustration from CCnews24.

About 300 families in Haiti stand to benefit from a $150,000 donation being made in digital currency to support nonprofit Hope for Haiti’s nutrition program, the organizations have announced.

Cryptocurrency platform Coinbase and Hope for Haiti estimate nearly 1,500 individuals will benefit from the donation, including mothers enrolled in the nutrition program and local vendors that use the Umoja digital wallet to receive aid and purchase products. 

The donated funds can be disbursed in as little as three to six minutes in the form of the cUSD stablecoin, according to Robby Greenfield, the CEO of Emerging Impact, the company behind the Umoja platform. The merchants can utilize the Umoja wallet to transfer the funds to Mon Cash, a Haiti-based mobile money service. 

He said such technology will help reduce poverty besetting countries like Haiti as a result of natural disasters, political instability and COVID-19. 

“Aid organizations help facilitate such change with 100% real-time transparency and faster delivery times,” Greenfield said.

Each participant will receive digital cash transfers they can use with different vendors to purchase food, healthcare and other needs. The digital cash can also be redeemed for local currency, according to Hope for Haiti.

“The vendors won’t receive funds directly from the pilot – they’ll be enrolled in the digital platform and will receive funds from pilot participants shopping from them,” said Taylor Hebble, Director of Marketing & Communications for Hope for Haiti. “The digital cash will be used as payment for the vendors.”

The grant is the latest of Hope for Haiti’s latest ventures utilizing digital technology. In 2021, the organization began using virtual reality technology to raise money from gamers and live streamers. It announced in October it would join the Celo Alliance for Prosperity, a group of about 140 other organizations focused on bringing more financial stability across the world.

Celo’s technology, coupled with Umoja, will record transactions in real-time and provide analytics. The company enabled these features so as to speed up the delivery rate of aid and eliminate middlemen, which they said commonly forces NGOs to pay steep operating costs relating to payments and transfers across international borders. 

Digital currency — money in digital form that is not connected to central banks — is gaining traction across sectors as more cryptocurrency companies emerge. 

The organization received $29 million in gifts for medications and medical supplies from June 2020 through June 2021 to support its programs, according to Hope for Haiti’s annual report. The organization was among the more well-known groups on the ground in Haiti after the 2021 earthquake that helped raise $11.7 million for survivors.

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