30 dead and around one billion animals perished – this is the shocking balance of the recent forest fires in Australia. The devastating large fires left countless victims who now face nothing. Some of the aid organizations also accept donations in Bitcoin & Co. A wonderful example of the adaptation of crypto-currencies – and unfortunately also an opportunity for cybercrime.
As the Australian online magazine Micky wrote on 22 January, the bushfires destroyed almost 19 million hectares of land. This is almost half the size of Germany. In addition, almost 2,700 houses were burned down. Numerous relief actions are now to alleviate the need. For example, financial donations are being used for clean-up work and for the fire brigades in the country. For this purpose some donation organizations also accept crypto-currencies.
Crypto currencies in practice: donations via Bitcoin
A showcase example of the use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies should be thought of. After all, the transactions are fast and secure and also involve low fees across national borders. In addition, this option is likely to generate additional donations, as many crypto fans are happy about every opportunity to use their coins as a means of payment.
For example, the Blockchain Charity Foundation, an initiative of the Bitcoin exchange Binance, has already collected BNB tokens worth over 1.2 million US dollars. Binance itself, after all one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world, has contributed one million US dollars.
Cyber criminals on the lookout for donations
However, the willingness of people to donate has unfortunately also attracted criminals. This does not only concern donations in the form of crypto-currencies. In the case of the Australian bush fires, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) warns against fraudsters who enrich themselves on donations from well-meaning citizens. The imagination of these fundraisers knows no bounds: Fraudsters can pose as well-known charities, create their own charity names and logos or even claim to be affected by the bushfires themselves. Furthermore, fake websites, social media accounts or crowdfunding platforms deceive Internet users who are willing to donate. Furthermore, fraudsters try to get hold of donations by phone or e-mail. According to Mickey.com, the agency has already received over 500 fraud reports from the general public.
Those who want to do good with their coins can do so via Crypto Bushfire Fundraiser. Donations are converted into Australian dollars and shared equally between the NSW Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA), the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund and WIRES. To date (as of 22.01.2020) donations are possible with the following crypto currencies: BTC, ETH, USDT (ERC20), USDC (ERC20), BCH, LTC and DOGE.