OmiseGO is donating 1 million dollars in OMG tokens to refugees via GiveDirectly, according to a blog post entitled “Stateless payments for stateless people”. Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin also donated money, it adds.
The blockchain company greets visitors to its website with the slogan “Unbank the Banked”. Its goal is to deliver “financial self-sovereignty through disintermediation”, allowing people to bypass the traditional financial system which it says imposes unnecessary barriers and costs. It explains that it does not intend to wholly dismiss centralised systems, but “create a system that selects for intermediaries who add value rather than simply extracting rent.”
The OMG network will use the ‘Plasma’ architecture, which is an upgrade of the Ethereum blockchain. Plasma is designed to improve scalability by operating a system of child blockchains which are subservient to the root blockchain. Basically, the child blockchains collect condensed transaction data and don’t bother the root blockchain until they are full, which lightens and speeds up the system. Buterin recently wrote about an upgrade to Plasma which could speed it up even more, called ‘Plasma Cash‘.
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GiveDirectly is a non-profit organisation operating in East Africa, functioning as a portal through which people can send donations to those living in extreme poverty in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. It uses mobile technology to send money, and claims that 88 cents from every dollar donated ends up with the recipient. It was founded six years ago by a group of students from MIT and Harvard and has thus far received over 200 million dollars in donations.
GiveDirectly works by sending field staff to impoverished communities to collect data and enroll participants, after checking their eligibility. Recipient households receive roughly 1000 dollars, which is the average budget for one year in the region. Typically, recipients receive an SMS to their phone and will collect cash from a mobile money agent.
The charity is also conducting an ambitious 12-year experiment in which it is supplying households with a basic income for that period of time in order to test the impact on the region.