Crypto donations fund fire relief efforts on Maui

Relief efforts are still underway on the Hawaiian island of Maui following a series of wildfires severely damaging major areas including Lahaina.

All Hands and Hearts, a disaster relief organization, has been collecting cryptocurrency and fiat donations to assist local Maui residents in the wake of the fires which took the lives of more than 100 people and destroyed homes and businesses. Government officials have reported the cost to rebuild may be more than $5.5 billion.

“Cryptocurrency donations as any other type of donations are helping to provide essential support after the devastating wildfires,” said Olga Ruggiero, the chief of organizational integration and events at All Hands and Hearts. “The crypto industry continues to band together with communities around the world in need.”

Ruggiero reported that the organization had received more than $125 million in crypto through The Giving Block, a charity platform which facilitates digital asset donations in Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and other tokens. At the time of publication, the Giving Block had matched more than $68,000 in crypto and fiat donations to raise more than $136,000 for the Maui project.

“All Hands and Hearts and other disaster relief organizations have evolved their donation strategies over the years by embracing technology and utilizing different types of digital platforms,” said Ruggiero. “These changes have improved fundraising efficiency and effectiveness, enabling organizations to provide crucial aid during disasters.”

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The fires, which reports suggest may have been caused by downed power lines on Aug. 8, have devastated the island of more than 160,000 residents. In addition to donations through All Hands and Hearts, the governments of Japan and South Korea each pledged $2 million in aid to support relief efforts.

Many organizations have turned to cryptocurrency as a solution to get funds into areas affected by natural and man-made disasters. In Ukraine, where residents have faced Russian military attacks since 2022, the government received more than $70 million in crypto for military equipment and humanitarian assistance as of February.

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