Latin American crypto exchange Airtm has been appointed to redistribute $18 million seized by U.S. authorities to 62,000 healthcare workers. These funds were taken in relation to a corruption case involving Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela.
According to Matt Ahlborg, data scientist at UsefulTulips, Coinbase-backed Airtm is well-known for being a censorship-resistant P2P exchange. He noted that Venezuelan users have long accounted for a significant part of Airtm’s customer database.
Juan Guaidó, recognized by several countries as Venezuela’s rightful leader, also recognized Airtm for their efforts in the fight against government censorship. Guaidó then outlined his own plans for helping to return the seized funds to the country’s healthcare workers.
Social media users report that Maduro’s government swiftly blocked Venezuelan users from accessing Airtm’s website following the news. In response, local activists have created a number of tutorials on how to bypass the government’s censorship of the site.
Ahlborg commented on the announcement:
“The average user on AirTM isn't a 1%'er in the West testing out new smart contract protocols on Ethereum, it is a middle to lower class worker in Venezuela preserving their wealth, ten dollars at a time. I saw this with my own eyes working with AirTM in CDMX last year.”
The data scientist praised Juan Guaidó for voicing support for a crypto company, and for backing plans to distribute aid to citizens affected by the crisis.