The UK based no-profit organisation; Oxfam has just spent a month testing MakerDAO’s stablecoin DAI in relation to helping disaster victims.
The pilot project was conducted in the South Pacific Ocean nation of Vanuatu and in partnership with the Australian tech company, Sempo and Ethereum start-up, ConsenSys.
According to a World Bank report, Vanuatu faces a high risk of tsunamis, cyclones and volcanic eruptions. Poverty is generally high and around 40 percent of the population get by on less than $4 a day.
The pilot program on the Pacific island involved 200 residents from the villages of Pango and Mele Maat being given tap-and-pay cards. Each of these were loaded with about 4,000 vatu ($50) in DAI. These cards could then be used for payments across 32 vendors which included local stores and schools.
To complete the cycle the vendors were issued app enabled Android phones which allowed them to accept the payments. The vendors were then able to redeem the DAI, at a rate of 1:1 against the US Dollar then into their fiat currency via Sempo or other exchanges.
Co-founder of Sempo stated :
‘As far as we know this is the first time an NGO has used a stablecoin to provide aid anywhere. This is not a one-off pilot. We believe that using a stablecoin to allow the unbanked to access finance will completely change the way aid runs.’
The pilot project, named the UnBlocked cash differs from previous attempts of aid from the NGO. Cash has been previously handed out to villagers, but time was lost due to the requirement for ID checks and dealings with banks. The difference in time for onboarding between a bank and the DAI card was 54 minutes, in favour of DAI.