Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin, who became the world’s youngest known crypto billionaire less than two weeks ago, has donated over $1 billion in crypto to the India Covid Relief Fund and a range of other charities.
He made the donation by offloading massive amounts of dog-themed meme tokens, which he was gifted by the creators of Shiba Inu coin (SHIB), Dogelon (ELON), Akita Inu (AKITA), mwDOGE (mwDOGE) and OURSHIB (OSHIB). These cryptocurrencies have taken off following Dogecoin’s staggering rally of the last few months. Though built around similar memes, these copycats have much larger supplies (in the quadrillions of units).
In a single transaction, Buterin donated 50 trillion SHIB tokens worth $1.2 billion as of May 12, 16:37 pm E.T. to the India Covid Relief Fund set up by Indian tech entrepreneur Sandeep Nailwal. Nailwal is best known as the co-founder and COO of Polygon, a scaling solution for Ethereum, a protocol which aggregates scalable solutions on Ethereum in a multi-chain system. Earlier in April, Buterin donated about $600,000 in ether and maker (MKR) tokens to the fund.
Nailwal immediately took to Twitter to thank Buterin and assure SHIB investors the funds will be spent responsibly, at no risk to investors.
Additionally, Ethereum’s figurehead sent about $441 million (as of press time) of AKITA to Gitcoin, an open-source bounties platform on Ethereum, according to the records from blockchain data provider Etherscan.
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Other notable donations, amounting to millions of dollars, include gifts to GiveWell, a non-profit charity evaluator, Methuselah Foundation, which focuses on extending human lifespan, and Machine Intelligence Research Institute, focused on developing safe artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.
Apparently, the tokens were given to Buterin on the premise that he would not sell them. Anonymous developers of Shiba Token have sent 50% of the SHIB token supply to Vitalik Buterin’s wallet over the past year. The coin’s website states that 50% of the total supply “was burned to Vitalik Buterin,” meaning the tokens have been permanently removed from circulation. Some market followers speculated that Buterin could ‘rug’ SHIB holders – simply speaking, sell the coins, turning what appears to be a marketing stunt against the developers. And indeed, Buterin’s moves have significantly impacted the prices of the tokens. According to Coinbase, Shiba Inu is down 36%, Dogelon Mars is down 65% and Akita Inu is down more than 50% over the past twenty-four hours as of press time.
Importantly, this could mean taht the actual amount of aid received by the charities may end up being much less than the intended amounts.