Bitcoin users around the world can now make Bitcoin donations to support Ebola relief efforts in Sierra Leone. Beam, the African Bitcoin remittance company that allows members of the African diaspora to send money back home, has set up ‘Bitcoin Against Ebola‘ to rally the international Bitcoin community to play their part in tackling the disease.
Bitcoin users can make a Bitcoin donation via Beam’s site to partner charities or an individual of their choice. Beam converts the Bitcoin into Sierra Leonean Leones, and deposits that money instantly into the recipient’s mobile money account, a bank account for digital money connected to a mobile phone number.
The recipient can then use the mobile money directly, or convert it into cash to make purchases of food and medical supplies.
The campaign is being run in partnership with Splash Cash, Sierra Leone’s largest mobile money service.
Nikunj Handa, CEO of Beam, said:
“For anyone who cares about supporting Ebola relief efforts financially, Bitcoin is simply the best possible way to send money.
“This is because traditional money transfer organisations gouge users with ridiculous fees, whereas the transfer costs for Bitcoin are extremely low. In most cases, it’s about 75% cheaper to send money via Beam than through traditional services like Western Union, so we’re able to pass on those savings to the people who need the money the most.”
Partner charities include LunchboxGift, which is providing freshly cooked meals to patients and healthcare workers in emergency Ebola treatment centres, and the Sierra Leone Liberty Group, which is providing soap, disinfectant, and other much needed supplies to quarantined homes.
The company hopes to expand the list of partner charities.
“We’re eager to partner with multiple aid organisations and integrate into as many mobile money services in as many African countries as possible,” said Falk Benke, Chief Technology Officer of Beam. “Any aid organisation who would like to be a recipient of donations from the international Bitcoin community should please get in touch with us.”
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