$20M of Buterin’s $1B COVID Relief Crypto Donation Paid Out So Far

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In Brief
  • Sandeep Nailwal, founder of the crypto COVID-19 relief fund, ran into challenges in distributing donated funds.

  • India's Foreign Contribution Regulation Act required the crypto donations to be converted to dollars and then rupees.

  • Vitalik Buterin donated 50T Shiba Inu to the fund in May, following 100 ETH previously donated in April.

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Around $20 million worth of Vitalik Buterin’s donation to a COVID-19 relief crypto fund in India has been paid out so far. It was a donation that totaled around $1 billion in cryptocurrency.



Back in May, the Ethereum (ETH) co-founder sent a whopping donation of 50 trillion Shiba Inu (SHIB) tokens to India. This followed an earlier donation of 100 ETH and 100 Maker (MKR), equating to $650,000 at the time, when a wave of COVID-19 savaged India, causing record fatalities.

However, reports have since revealed that the relief fund that received Buterin’s donation has only paid out $20 million worth. The fund’s founder, Indian entrepreneur Sandeep Nailwal, attested that he exercised caution when disbursing the funds. The $20 million already paid out will be followed by another $20 million currently in the pipeline.



However, reports also indicate that the Polygon co-founder ran into a number of challenges when distributing the money. 

These included India’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, which reportedly required the fund to convert the crypto donation into dollars and then into rupees. Reports indicate the fund has not yet finished converting the full donation, with approximately 80% completed.

In addition, Buterin’s massive donation caused a 50% decline in SHIB’s price. According to data, the memecoin was worth $0.000028 on May 12, around the time Buterin made his multi-trillion pledge. 24 hours later, the value had crashed to $0.000021, and the price only continued to fall. Since then, SHIB has not even come close to regaining the heights it achieved in May. At time of press, one SHIB was worth $0.000006.

The crypto landscape in India

India has shown something of a mercurial attitude towards cryptocurrency this year. The standpoint of its government and financial institutions towards crypto has changed repeatedly, with reports pointing towards a potential ban of cryptocurrencies in the country altogether. A bill regarding this ban has been under review.

Furthermore, back in May, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) informally requested lenders sever ties with crypto exchanges. The institution previously banned banks from dealing with crypto all the way back in 2018 — a ban that the Supreme Court overturned two years later.

However, the RBI is not against digital currencies as a whole, as recent reports revealed its considerations over a phased rollout of its own central bank digital currency (CBDC). Namely, the digital rupee. The RBI’s Deputy Governor T Rabi Sankar said that a pilot test for the CBDC could potentially happen in the near future. For now, the RBI is still debating various details of the digital rupee; details such as the ledger it would be, and the form of issuance.


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Dale Hurst is a journalist, presenter, and novelist. Before joining the Be In Crypto team, he was an editor and senior journalist at a news, lifestyle and human-interest magazine in the UK. Cryptocurrency was one of the first subjects he specialized in when first going freelance in 2018, reviewing exchanges and analysing lawsuits.

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