A dearth of donations for fighting Ebola is leading those on the frontline to consider Bitcoin as a major tool for change – and are introducing the currency across affected African countries.
From Sierra Leone to Liberia and internationally, the community is turning to Bitcoin to resolve the difficulties hampering the current fiat-based effort to stop the spread of Ebola, which has so far claimed almost 4,000 victims, with the vast majority in West Africa.
Live Ebola Map, which shows updated information about the spread and mortality rate of the disease, is now accepting Bitcoin alongside PayPal as its two major donation channels.
Additionally, the local Bitcoin community is working with charity organizations on-site to facilitate Bitcoin implementation in countries including Sierra Leone.
As the Wall Street Journal notes, the unwieldiness of the fiat-based aid model is showing in the painfully slow process of transferring donations to recipients. A complex multistage process of sending funds from major entities to national and regional ones, all within environments where security and volatility of the local currency are major concerns, combine to form an ineffective strategy.
Added to this the low amount pledged to begin with, the magnitude of the problem in its current form becomes apparent. Quartz notes that only US$400million of a total of US$988 million recommended by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund has been raised, with only 26% collected.
No wonder then that according to Carol Realini, mobile payments entrepreneur turned financial inclusion advocate, combating the Ebola epidemic not only goes hand in hand with Bitcoin’s flexibility, but could also be a turning point for Bitcoin as well as Ebola.
“Sometimes there are exceptional moments that allow you to overcome extreme obstacles,” she told the Journal about the potential.
In Sierra Leone meanwhile, the Sierra Leone Liberty Group is seeking to put this potential into practice. Bitcoin Lady Botswana’s website carries the story of Mustapha Cole’s mission to use Bitcoin as a direct funding method in the country to halt the spread of the disease. Cole writes:
“Our hope is to seek help from the Bitcoin community so we can help [the] poor and built the economy of our country, as well fundraise to help those affected by Ebola with chlorine bleach, washing rubber, soap, face-marks and gloves so we can combat this disease.”
Having joined forces with Bitcoin communities in both Botswana and Ghana, the group is now seeking to raise awareness on social media, such as its Facebook page.
Cointelegraph is a full supporter of the containment of Ebola, and even wrote an open letter to the World Health Organization last month. If you would like to help too, donations can be made to help fight Ebola using the addresses below.
Via Live Ebola Map: 13R1FibBX3mo9Ji6exkDamm3w2JectyQgY
Via Sierra Leone Liberty Group: 1N23z7e7RcmZVmccMvPUGfxJnKL5r9bQPm