Binance Gives Back: How The World’s Largest Crypto Exchange Is Using Blockchain For Covid Relief
“The pandemic has changed the world as we know it; it will never be the same again. And in this new world, we believe crypto will play an ever increasing role.” – CZ, Founder and CEO of Binance
It is no secret that Binance is the largest and most used crypto exchange in the world, with $11 billion in daily trading volume. The firm and its equally impressive CEO Changpeng Zhao (known as “CZ”) adopted a winning mentality early on. Binance became the largest crypto exchange within 180 days of existence, temporarily giving its CEO the coveted billionaire status within its first year of operation.
But there is another equally impressive side to Binance. Its philanthropic arm – Binance Charity – is the world’s first decentralized charity foundation that utilizes blockchain technology to address issues regarding poverty and inequality.
To address the Covid-19 pandemic, Binance Charity launched a “fully transparent” giving campaign, facilitating more than $4 million donations to Covid-19 hotspots all over the world including China, India, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, and the United States.
The campaign provides donors with clarity along every step of the donation route, providing details such as: N95 mask manufacturer and purchase orders; information on the flights transporting the materials; and photo proof of healthcare workers receiving the medical equipment are all made publicly available to donors. The platform recently safeguarded the delivery of 200,000 personal protection equipment materials to the region most affected by coronavirus in the world – New York City.
Following up on this news, I had the pleasure to ask CZ a few questions about both Binance Charity and his vision for the blockchain industry.
As a Chinese-born Canadian, who has lived and built businesses in China, Canada, Japan, and the U.S., how do you see the pandemic affecting the current geopolitical climate, particularly between China and the U.S.? How will the cryptocurrency space be affected?
CZ: “The pandemic has impacted a lot of businesses, mostly businesses running in a traditional way, which causes global financial pressures and might also cause tensions between the countries. The online businesses, however, haven’t been impacted [as much]. In fact, the crypto space has been doing quite well in the past few months. Bitcoin was created in 2009 to specifically handle situations like this.
Take crypto trading for example, the volume has been increased by three to five times among major crypto exchanges last quarter. When the government prints more money by pushing QE policies and stimulus packages, people may consider Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as the alternatives as they see fiat currencies keep on depreciating, which will fundamentally lead to growing crypto users, massive adoption of crypto and growth of the crypto industry.”
Most recently, it has been reported that Trump is anti-Bitcoin. Do you believe governments have the power to meaningfully affect the trajectory of Bitcoin?
CZ: “The more a centralized party tries to intervene or restrict a decentralized technology or community, the more the latter will flourish.
Bitcoin was created to handle situations like the subprime crisis resulting from government interventions. It’s based on a consensus system by the community. Blockchain is, by essence, decentralized to allow free flow of value.
Coincidentally, I believe the best way for governments to slow down the adoption of bitcoin is to increase the freedom of fiat currencies. That is, make fiat currency easier to use, less restrictions on transactions and investments, cheaper fees and less quantitative easing. Otherwise, people will continue to adopt crypto currencies.”
You are someone who is considered an absolute success story both in our industry and beyond, having built the largest cryptocurrency exchange in record time, and reaching billionaire status within one year. Has giving back always been a part of your ethos?
CZ: “It has always been our ethos to help others. It’s human nature to feel good when helping others. It gives us a strong sense of satisfaction, a purpose of being. We wanted to do a blockchain-powered philanthropy project back in 2014, knowing the transparency properties of blockchain could help with charity. But back in 2014, our abilities were limited. Things changed after we started Binance.”
What is the benefit of using blockchain for philanthropy?
CZ: “By using the new technology, the donations and allocations are clearly recorded on the website of Binance Charity and on the blockchain as well. We make efforts to ensure every dollar donated will be directly allocated to the end beneficiaries. Donors and anyone else can check and track the records at any time. The highest level of transparency encourages more people to join in the donation and help people in need. So far, over 8 million USD worth of cryptocurrencies has been raised to support over 100,000 end beneficiaries from all over the world.”
What are some examples of successful past projects at Binance Charity?
CZ: “Early 2019, Binance Charity initiated the “Binance Lunch for Children” project. This project has been for more than one year and is still on-going. Over 5,000 students are provided with daily meals. Both attendance rate and academic performance has been improved.
In July 2019, Binance Charity formed an alliance with 46 companies to unveil the Pink Care Token project, for the alleviation of period poverty. In total, 11,601 young girls in Uganda, Africa have been supported with reusable sanitary pads.
In October 2019, Binance Charity joined hands with Mercy Corps to design and issue an impact token called “Humanity First Token” (BHFT) to improve the living conditions of the refugees who had fled from South Sudan to Uganda.”
How has Binance Charity engaged to help during the Covid-19 pandemic?
CZ: “Following the outbreak of the coronavirus in December 2019, Binance immediately launched the “Binance for Wuhan” project and committed the donation of 10,000,000 RMB (~$1.4M USD) worth of medical supplies to support the battle against the virus in China. Over 300 hospitals in Wuhan and surrounding areas received over 800,000 pieces of PPE supplies, oxygen concentrators, testing kits, [and more].
In March 2020, [we] launched the “Crypto Against Covid” global campaign to help address the global health pandemic. Binance Charity bought supplies from vetted suppliers and shipped the supplies to the targeted hospitals in affected countries. To date, Binance has donated more than $3.3 million to this global initiative and raised $0.7 million externally. Binance Charity has coordinated the donation of 1.42 million masks, 53,000 PPE suits, and 50,000 gloves to 24 countries.”
Impressive. Where do you see the greatest opportunities for blockchain technology in impact causes both in the short term and in the future?
CZ: “In the short term, blockchain technology will have an impact on money, which will in turn have impact on economic growth in different regions of the world. Longer term, it will impact everything that relies on trust or common record, from land titles to elections. It will take some time to get there, but it will happen. The path is clear.”
According to Forbes