Blockchain enterprises are demonstrating the strength of the crypto community as a number of firms have joined forces with Binance to raise funds in the fight against Covid-19.
In early January 2020, Crypto Twitter was lining up on the streets, flying flags for Bitcoin and crypto.
Geopolitical tensions were simmering in the Middle East. President Trump was intent on pulling out all the stops in US-China trade negotiation (until a deal was finally signed mid-month). After a momentary dip below USD 7,000, Bitcoin powered on throughout the rest of the month seeming to herald the dawn of a great 2020 bull run.
The entire Cryptoverse was jumping. Conditions ripened for crypto, as whispers of economic crisis and undertones of regional instability appeared to brew the perfect storm. Bitcoin’s oft-theorized use case as a safe haven asset in times of uncertainty and recession-proof value made its rounds on influencer talk shows. Crypto Twitter scrambled to feed.
Meanwhile, researchers in China had identified a new virus from dozens of mystery pneumonia cases treated the month before. By late January, Japan and South Korea reported new cases and the US confirmed one from a man returning from Wuhan. Despite a state of emergency and a lockdown in Wuhan, few suspected that this epidemic would become a global pandemic that would greatly exceed any outbreak in recent memory in terms of spread and deadliness.
News of the epidemic seemed to buoy crypto markets even higher. For many, crypto’s rise in the face of bad news was only natural. The convergence of geopolitics, economics, global health crisis and Bitcoin halving was set to spurn the perfect climate for the emergence of crypto assets as the big winner in 2020.
The end of the affair?
By February, Coronavirus had a new name and began to look like a pan-, rather than epi-, demic. France and Iran recorded the first deaths outside of China and Italy faced Europe’s first major outbreak. By March, as Italy locked down hard, the US banned most European visitors amid a national emergency.
Crypto began to crumble as it became clear that this was not just another seasonal flu that would be forgotten by summer. When the World Health Organization formally announced a global pandemic on March 11th, Bitcoin and crypto experienced their fastest crash ever. Crypto Twitter, on the same page as traditional markets, dubbed the day “Black Thursday”.
Once the dust had settled, however, when the speculators and nervous investors had liquidated their holdings in fear of Bitcoin hitting $0, the crypto world began to take stock of events. Covid-19 isn’t just bad news for traditional banking, finance and the economy. It is bad news for everything. For all of us.
People fought over toilet paper and water in frenzied shopping driven by a giddy cocktail of fake news and misguided pop-science. In a world of stockpiling and anxieties about leaving the house, crypto was just as unfashionable and as unneeded as the gold and stocks that were being liquidated by investors across the globe.
The crypto promises whispered into willing ears had come undone. For now, crypto has yet to prove its viability as a safe-haven asset in times of deep global crisis.
There is A Crypto Community, and It is One for Good
In the whirlwind of trending headlines and hyperbole on either side of crypto’s future fortunes, something else happened that we didn’t notice immediately.
A handful of crypto enterprises announced contributions to the war on Covid-19 in Wuhan back in January. Binance for Wuhan was one of the more visible campaigns, with the global exchange firm donating ~1.4 million USD worth of medical supplies. Other crypto firms like Krypital took to WeChat to launch their own aid drives. Even the Italian Red Cross, with Helperbit, took to raising Bitcoin to finance a new advanced medical post when facilities were swamped in Italy.
Soon other crypto-centric efforts rolled out. Acoer used the Hedera Hashgraph ledger to create the Hashlog Covid-19 tracking tool Hashlog. Gitcoin’s open source fundmatching projects, that include many Covid-19 non-profit projects, allow community members to make direct crypto contributions. IBM’s blockchain has also joined the fight to manage data and accelerate discovery of potential new leads with the MiPasa open data platform.
“The crypto community is a growing force and we have an opportunity to strengthen this through philanthropy. We encourage the community to take part in this initiative as we unite against COVID-19, and together, we’ll drive impact,” -- Changpeng Zhao, founder and CEO of Binance.
The crypto community has a long history of altruism - a characteristic flowing naturally from the concepts of decentralization, self-determination and transparency that underpin the technology itself. From the anonymous Robin Hood crypto for homeless project in 2014, to a record year of crypto donations in 2017 (via Fidelity) that saw $70 million in Bitcoin go to charity, crypto is no stranger to a good cause.
But the 2017/18 digital asset boom perhaps obscured what crypto really was about. While earlier proponents insisted on alternative finance and promoted what they believed was sovereign and uncensorable money, crypto, for many, had suddenly become everything to do with how much it could be worth tomorrow.
Which makes the many blockchain and crypto efforts now ongoing so much more meaningful. These efforts show that the crypto community has not forgotten that they are still, after all, part of a global community that is only as strong as its weakest link.
“Crypto may yet need to wait for the promised land of mass adoption and widespread recognition. But as a united force for good, we desire to bring meaningful impact to those who urgently need help during this crisis.” -- Jonas Karlberg, AmaZix CEO.
It may be that many new blockchain users and entrants were misled into thinking that crypto was the 21st century gold rush. It may very well prove to be so in the future but, for now, crypto people are reminded that, no matter which side of finance or crypto we stand on, we are all together against Covid-19.
Crypto Against Covid
This week, AmaZix was only the latest blockchain firm to sign on as an official partner of Binance Charity’s Crypto Against Covidproject, which has already raised over $1.16 million since late January 2020 for the ongoing disaster response and relief efforts worldwide.
Binance Charity will use donated funds to purchase much-needed medical and relief items from vetted suppliers, and ship them to targeted hospitals in affected countries. As the situation evolves, a second phase of donations will be drawn up. A summary of purchased supplies already donated can be found on this page: https://bit.ly/AmaZixBinance
If you know of any hospital demands or any sources of medical supplies and shipping aid to help us fight this pandemic, please reach out to: firstname.lastname@example.org.