Stellar Helps Bank Ukrainian Refugees With USDC

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  • Stellar is leveraging its partnership with Moneygram to aid Ukrainian refugees
  • Refugees will be able to receive cash assistance through USDC on their phones
  • They can then exchange this for cash at any Moneygram outlet

Ukrainians have been on the receiving end of the generosity of the crypto crowd ever since Russia invaded the country in February, and the humanitarian aid effort has been stepped up again thanks to Stellar and the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Yesterday, the Stellar Development Foundation announced a partnership with the IRC to offer the USDC stablecoin on the Stellar network as a form of cash assistance to Ukrainian refugees, which can then be redeemed at any Moneygram location. The move is hoped to ensure that those without bank accounts can still get aid.

Eight Million Refugees

One of the fallouts of any major conflict is refugees, with Ukraine over eight million now thought to be displaced. This of course means that accessing funds is hard, even for those with bank accounts, which is why Stellar has made the most of its deal with Moneygram and USDC to work with the IRC in helping refugees access funds given to them.

The pilot is one of the first implementations of Stellar’s end-to-end cash assistance system, Stellar Aid Assist, that delivers relief funds quickly, affordably, and with transparency to individuals in crisis. Stellar Aid Assist will distribute USDC to a digital wallet on a refugee’s phone, in this case the Vibrant app, which will allow them to remotely receive digital dollars, hold them and transport them more securely across borders as needed.

It will also allow users in Ukraine to receive their cash assistance even if they do not have a bank account or credit/debit card – they can store it on a digital wallet on their phones and convert the digital dollars to real currency almost anywhere in the world through any Moneygram outlet. The pilot is yet to be tested, and there may be some issues with refugees being able to use their phones, if they have them, and getting the requisite internet connection to receive the funds, but hopefully these bridges can be crossed.

Crypto “Essential Tool” in Defense

Over $130 million has been raised through various cryptocurrency donation platforms to aid in Ukraine’s defense against Russia, which led in July to Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation, Alex Bornyakov, saying that cryptocurrency was an “essential tool of Ukraine’s defense”.