One year ago, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the volcano Nyiragongo erupted. The lava devastated part of the outskirts of Goma. A total of 32 people died and more than 3,500 homes were swallowed by magma. A few days after this disaster, four young people from Goma launched a collection of bitcoin donations. And now, in the coming weeks, they will launch their first humanitarian operation for the victims.
as reported from Goma, Coralie Pierret
The initiative is called Kiveclair: Kiv for Kivu, because Goma is located in the Lake Kivu region and éclair stands for “lightning” in English. The flash network is what makes it possible to carry out transactions in the cryptocurrency, which is bitcoin. This initiative has already raised the equivalent of almost $ 20,000 in donations, via the Internet alone. The goal is to provide emergency assistance to people in need, and in particular to the victims of the eruption in May 2021.
An initial distribution has already taken place to test the device. The second distribution, which this time will affect about fifty people, will begin in a few days. But it is not an easy distribution of cash because the goal is to develop bitcoin in Goma.
The recipients received a smartphone that allows the installation of a bitcoin wallet because the compensation is made in satoshis, the smallest unit of bitcoin. And the adventure does not end there because the victims also receive training on bitcoin with each payment, twice a month.
Circular EconomyTo make these trainings and payments work in satoshi, the founders of Kiveclair convinced merchants to accept payment in bitcoin. “Today, there are about ten stores with basic necessities in Goma that accept this payment method,” explains Gloire Wanzavalere, one of the founders of Kiveclair. “The idea is to popularize it and eventually create a circular economy,” he continues.
This is also the purpose of step 2 of their project. They want to establish a “bitcoin beach” as in El Salvador where the village of El Zonte has created a sustainable economic ecosystem based on electronic money.
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Bitcoin has just started to gain momentum in the Goma region. Even one of the largest nature reserves in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the virunga national park, get into it. It has been accepting donations in cryptocurrency since last year. It is a park in danger where animals and resources are threatened by poaching, but also by successive wars and conflicts Eastern DRC because the armed groups use this park as a rear base. So the aid mobilized in cryptocurrency made it particularly possible to dismantle 1,260 animal traps and to perform 24,000 kilometers of air surveillance or even 65,000 kilometers of foot patrols.
But that’s not all, Virungaparken could even make money via and thanks to bitcoin. As part of its development program, the park has launched a comprehensive plan to build hydropower plants. Virunga Energie, the company that operates the power plants, has decided to experiment with bitcoin mining so as not to lose these surpluses. Mining is a way of investing in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.