On Wednesday, Vitalik Buterin contributed $1.5 billion in cryptocurrencies to many non-profit organisations, including $1 billion to a COVID-19 aid fund in India, in one of the largest-ever person philanthropic campaigns.
Or, at the very least, it was the value of the cryptocurrencies he used to make the gift, all of which are dog-themed.
Buterin, the Ethereum founder, donated 500 ETH and over 50 trillion SHIB (Shiba Inu), a meme token, worth about $1.14 billion at the time of the exchange, to India COVID-Crypto Relief Fund.
The deal caused some investors to panic, leading to a 35% collapse in SHIB’s price on Wednesday — and its value continues to fluctuate.
SHIB, named after the Shiba Inu, and Dogelon Mars (ELON), another meme coin Buterin donated on Wednesday, are two alternate cryptocurrencies that have grown in popularity in recent months. SHIB is a parody of Dogecoin, which was developed as a prank.
Following recent increases in the Dogecoin cryptocurrency, SHIB has actively courted institutional investors in China and other markets. It had attracted billions of dollars in funding in the days leading up to Wednesday’s accident.
Buterin’s triggers are severe, and the scarcity of the meme coins may result in less liquid money for the relief fund.
Buterin’s disposal of many dog-themed meme coins, which were sent to him without his permission in the first place, comes at a time when India is dealing with a spike in coronavirus infections.
Sandeep Nailwal, the co-founder of crypto organization Polygon and organizer of the Indian relief fund, assured people late Wednesday that he would not do something that would harm “any society, particularly the retail group associated with SHIB.”
The relief fund, which has so far used previous donor funds to deliver oxygen cylinders and other medical equipment to Indian hospitals, has stated that it would conduct a “thoughtful liquidation” to fulfil its objectives. “We also agreed to transform the donation gradually over time,” the fund’s official Twitter page said.
Buterin, who became the world’s youngest crypto billionaire at the age of 27 earlier this month, also donated $336 million in Ethereum and Dogelon Mars (ELON) to the Methuselah Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes efforts in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine treatments, and over 13,000 ETH to Givewell, a nonprofit that aims to curate the best charities around the world. Buterin has made contributions to the Gitcoin Group, MIRI, and the Charter Cities Institute.
Over the past two weeks, India has recorded over 350,000 regular infections and over 3,500 fatalities. The coronavirus’s second wave has ravaged the South Asian nation’s healthcare infrastructure, forcing numerous citizens to search for hospital beds, medical oxygen, and other supplies.
Several entrepreneurs, like Balaji Srinivasan, have contributed to the India Crypto Relief Fund, which keeps track of all contributions. Last month, Buterin contributed $600,000 in ether and creator tokens to the fund.