UN to send displaced Ukrainians USDC to convert into local currencies

Through a new blockchain-based humanitarian program, UNHCR would send stablecoin USDC to displaced Ukrainians and others affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The UN Refugee Agency is turning to crypto

The UN Refugee Agency published a press release dedicated to its new crypto initiative. It will transmit USDC, a stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar, to recipients’ Vibrant digital wallets, which run on the Stellar blockchain. Beneficiaries can then get the payments in dollars, euros, or any other local currency at the nearest MoneyGram station, with 4,500 such locations in Ukraine.

The funds will be provided to individuals affected by the war to assist in covering rent, food, medical care, and heating during the winter. So far, the program is being implemented in Kyiv, Lviv, and Vinnytsia and will expand to other towns and cities. 

The project’s initial phase is meant exclusively for Ukraine but might grow to other parts of the world. UN describes its stablecoin initiative as a step toward innovation.

“UNHCR has been engaging for years with the IT sector, which has played a crucial role in assisting us to innovate to deliver assistance faster, as speed is of the essential in humanitarian action.”

UNHCR Representative to Ukraine Karolina Lindholm Billing

The UN’s relief program provides a real-life use case for cryptocurrencies. Months after Russia invaded Ukraine, crypto has played an important role in transferring funds to refugees and the Ukrainian government. In March, Alex Bornyakov, Ukraine’s deputy minister at the Ministry of Digital Transformation, stated the government had raised close to $100 million in crypto donations.

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