Vitalik Buterin made waves in mid-May when he donated $1 billion in meme coins to India’s COVID-19 relief operations. However, only $20 million has been distributed in the three months since the contribution, with the charity that received the funds blaming regulatory difficulties and a sharp reduction in the value of meme coins.
In May, the Ethereum creator contributed $1.5 billion in digital currencies to some charities. The donation went to India’s COVID Crypto Relief Fund, which received roughly 500 ETH and 50 trillion Shiba Inu coins worth $1.1 billion at the time. Shiba Inu coin is satirical digital money modeled after Dogecoin, which was launched as a joke coin.
The majority of the funds had failed to exit the digital currency wallets three months later. According to Bloomberg, only $20 million has been disbursed thus far, with another $20 million on the way.
The founder of the India COVID Crypto Relief Fund, Sandeep Nailwal, attributes the monies’ slow disbursement to some factors, one of which is regulatory difficulties. Even though digital currency ownership is at an all-time high in India, the country remains unfriendly to the business.
Furthermore, India has legislation limiting charitable gifts, making cashing out digital currencies a little more difficult. Sandeep claims that the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act requires him to convert the digital currency first to US dollars and then to rupees before disbursing them. He said that thus far, 80 percent of the conversion has been completed.
Buterin’s meme coins have also witnessed a significant price drop from the moment of donation. The Canadian programmer contributed 50 trillion Shiba Inu or 5% of all Shiba Inu in circulation. They were worth about $1 billion at the time of giving. However, the donation, which some saw as a dump by Vitalik, resulted in a near-immediate 50% price drop.
Sandeep revealed that the Shiba Inu he owns is now valued at almost $400 million in a recent interview.
The New Delhi businessman disclosed that he has been working hard to guarantee that the funds reach the people on the ground. To do this, he is in the process of engaging a “big-name audit firm” to ensure complete openness. So far, he’s focused on food distribution groups in India and the 10-BED ICU, which provides critical medical support to COVID-19 victims in rural India.
COVID-19 infections have reached a third wave in the Asian country, with daily infections topping 40,000. In total, nearly 31 million people have been affected, with 425,000 deaths.