The crypto community is rallying around the charge to fight COVID-19, with a variety of initiatives raising money to fight the pandemic and support charities on the front lines of the battle. The most recent: an online poker tournament, open to anyone and featuring a host of well-known crypto faces.
The Giving Block has partnered with a number of high-profile cryptocurrency and blockchain firms to promote #CryptoCOVID19, a campaign to raise $100K — which kicked off with a matching pledge of $50k each from Vitalik Buterin and Gitcoin for all donations made in ETH or DAI on the Gitcoin platform.
But as the global lockdown continues, Alex Wilson of The Giving Block said they wanted to do something more than simply call for donations and had created a live event to bring people together around the cause.
“We had been looking for a way to celebrate the community’s response to our campaign, something that brought people together around the idea of giving. For whatever reason a lot of people in this business seem to be poker players,” said Wilson.
Satstreet’s Jon Lister explained:
“I came up with the idea for the event after I was introduced to The Giving Block at a networking event by Pioneer Club. We all agreed that an online poker tournament while many people are sheltered at home would be a great way to raise money for charities on the front lines of COVID. It’s been incredible to get support from people and companies all across the industry.”
Charlies for charity
The Giving Block quickly roped in a plethora of well-known crypto figures including Charlie Lee (founder of Litecoin), Charlie Shrem (founding member of the Bitcoin Foundation), Peter McCormack (host of the What Bitcoin Did podcast), Joey Krug (Co-Chief Investment Officer at Pantera Capital and a core developer at Augur) and Ed Moncada (CEO of Blockfolio — and a former professional player with a World Series of Poker event title to his name).
Joey Krug noted that “I thought it'd be super fun to play poker with a bunch of people in crypto, and the fact that it's for charity makes it even better!” The sentiment was echoed by Jason Lau of OKCoin, who explained that “COVID vs Crypto is a great way for us individually to do our part and support all the brave and valuable charities that are on the front lines.”
Charlie Lee said he’d donate any winnings back to the charity:
“If I win anything in this tournament, I will donate it all to the same cause.”
David Nage of investment management firm Arca was more circumspect:
If you want:— David Nage🎯 (@DavidJNage) April 7, 2020
1) continue to show the world our community steps up in times of crisis and...
2) See me get absolutely rekt against the likes of @nlw @CharlieShrem and others sign up. https://t.co/Fbf8LbHZRy
A coordinated crypto response to COVID-19
Other partners have also made matching donation pledges to the #CryptoCOVID19 cause, including the Electric Coin Company (developers of Zcash) with a $5K pledge, and the team at Waves, who have promised to match up to $10K in donations. Bigbird.vc has also promised $10K in matched donations, while other donors include Unstoppable Domains, Ark, 99Bitcoins, Axiom Finance, Donut App, Coinfloor, and Atomic Wallet. Binance has donated $1 million and promised to match donations up to another $1 million.
Cointelegraph previously reported on Ripple Labs, which is supporting efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus in the United States, and on #COVIDathon, a decentralized artificial intelligence hackathon to help create solutions to combat the disease.