Ghanaian Bitcoin-powered remittance company Beam has launched a Bitcoin Against Ebola website, allowing Bitcoin holders globally to make donations using the cryptocurrency in support of ebola relief efforts in Sierra Leone.
On the website, Bitcoin holders can donate to partner charities or individuals of their choice, with Beam converting the Bitcoin into Sierra Leonean leones and instantly depositing funds into a mobile money account through a partnership with Splash, Sierra Leone’s largest mobile money service.
Partner charities include LunchboxGift, which provides freshly cooked meals to patients and healthcare workers in emergency ebola treatment centers, and the Sierra Leone Liberty Group, which provides soap, disinfectant and other much needed supplies to quarantined homes.
“For anyone who cares about supporting Ebola relief efforts financially, Bitcoin is simply the best possible way to send money,” said Nikunj Handa, chief executive officer (CEO) of Beam.
“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 per cent 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.”
Beam said it wants to expand the service to include as many reputable aid organisations as possible in all the countries which have ebola outbreaks.
“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 (CTO) 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.”
Handa challenged the international Bitcoin community to play an active, visible role in supporting relief efforts.
“The Bitcoin Against Ebola website lets the Bitcoin community support the medical and relief teams on the ground directly. These inspiring people are fighting back this horrible disease at great personal cost and sacrifice. Thousands have already died, and many more are at risk due to inadequate access to basic resources. The least we can do is to provide financial support to the these heroes, give them a fighting chance, and prevent Ebola from spreading any further in the world.”