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Realizing Vitalik Buterin’s $1 billion donation in Shiba Inu coins to India’s COVID-Crypto Relief Fund has proven to be a difficult process for the fund’s creator.
Only $20 million of the $1 billion in cryptocurrency donated to a COVID-19 relief fund in India by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has been cashed out and distributed to aid recipients. The focus of a recent interview with the fund’s founder, Sandeep Nailwal, is determining why the process is not as frictionless as crypto users would hope.
Remember that in May, Buterin’s decision to liquidate several of his meme coin positions and donate the proceeds to various charities sparked both panic and admiration.
Panic first gripped those traders who rushed to lock in their profits amid the inevitable price collapses caused by Buterin’s sell-offs, particularly in the previously popular tokens Shiba Inu (SHIB) and Dogelon Mars (ELON), each of which saw its price drop by more than 40%.
Even among traders, however, there was some recognition that the price dumps affecting these intensely hyped coins would provide some respite from rising transaction costs on the Ethereum network. Moreover, when it transpired that Buterin had donated the proceeds to several charities — Gitcoin, Give Well and India COVID-Crypto Relief Fund — many in the community welcomed the move, particularly as India was in the throes of an unprecedented and deadly wave of COVID-19 infections.
However, a couple of months down the line, the founder of the India COVID-Relief Fund has shared some of the difficulties involved in cashing out Buterin’s generous contribution. So far, just $20 million has been paid out, with a further $20 million planned for the near future.
The fund’s founder, Sandeep Nailwal, who also co-founded Polygon (formerly Matic), told reporters that some of the delays are due to his caution and desire to ensure that funds reach grassroots organisations in a transparent manner — to places where they are most urgently needed. To that end, he intends to hire a reputable auditor to assist in overseeing the process as it progresses.
Furthermore, as a result of the price drops caused by Buterin’s liquidations, the initial $1 billion in value that the 50 trillion Shiba Inu coins represented at the time of their sale quickly dwindled by around 50%. Nailwal estimates that their eventual total value will be around $400 million.
Disbursement of the funds has also been hampered by the need to comply with India’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act as the tokens are converted into dollars and then rupees. According to reports, roughly 80% of those who have been converted have done so thus far.
The crypto funds are reportedly being distributed to food distributors nationwide and an organisation working on establishing mini-intensive care wards for COVID-19 patients in rural India as they come in.
As he continues with this time-consuming process, Naiwal expresses concern about the possibility of a third wave of infections in the country, which has already reported an official death toll of over 400,000. According to recent reports, the true figure could be as high as 4 million.
Buterin had previously sent 100 Ether and 100 Maker to Naiwal’s fund, which were valued at $220,000 and $400,000 at the time, respectively.