Crypto and NFT Communities Respond to Turkish Earthquake Relief Efforts

On February 6, a devastating earthquake struck the southeastern part of Turkey at the border with Syria. As of right now, over 5,000 people have lost their lives as a result of the quake. The earthquake occurred over a stretch of the fault line that was 100 kilometers (62 miles) long and had a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale. This is considered to be a “significant” earthquake on an international scale.

The region’s infrastructure sustained significant damage, which led to a catastrophic humanitarian crisis that crossed international borders and claimed the lives of many people.

Nevertheless, there was an immediate reaction all throughout the globe. People have been collecting donations for local and international humanitarian groups via the internet and different social media platforms in order to give assistance to individuals who are impacted by the disaster in the places that have been affected.

AFAD Turkiye, the government agency for such calamities, and the non-governmental organization Ahbap, which is run by the philanthropist Haluk Levent, have been at the lead of coordinating an inflow of supplies. Both of these organizations are among the major humanitarian operations in Turkey.

Levent made the announcement that his company is now able to receive donations in the form of a variety of digital currencies by launching crypto addresses to do so.

Refik Anadol, an artist and art director from Turkey, also launched a crowdfunding campaign via the use of an Ether (ETH) address. He plans to donate the money that is raised to both AFAD and Ahbap.

Within the Web3 business, a number of different firms have come up to provide assistance, whether it be in the form of cryptocurrency or fiat currency contributions, or even in the form of physical assistance.

Bitget, a cryptocurrency derivatives trader, made the announcement that it would contribute 1 million Turkish liras (approximately $53,000), while Bitfinex, Keet, Synonym, and Tether each pledged 5 million Turkish liras (approximately $265,500), and Gateio pledged 1 million Turkish liras (approximately $53,000).

Local Turkish cryptocurrency exchange Bitci has dispatched a relief truck to the epicenter of the earthquake while simultaneously announcing that the entirety of the commission income generated during the month of February will be donated to Ahbap in the name of the earthquake that was centered in Kahramanmaraş. Icrypex made the announcement that they would be coordinating their efforts with AFAD and Ahbap.

Both the Turkish branch of ByBit and OKX have pledged to contribute to the relief effort by sending one million liras (about $53,000) and one hundred thousand dollars, respectively.

Today, the Turkish people are first in our minds and hearts. Together with the creative community of The Sandbox in Turkey, we are coordinating with the necessary non-governmental groups to establish a relief fund and provide assistance to places that were impacted by the earthquake.

He said that along with The Sandbox Turkey, they had assisted in filling a truck with emergency supplies for the victims and individuals who were impacted, and they were looking at opportunities for further long-term assistance.

Nonfungible tokens, often known as NFTs, have been suggested as another potential method of generating money for those affected by the catastrophe.

The Turkish musician and NFT artist Pak tweeted about a contribution of ETH to Ahbap, along with intentions for an NFT project to provide long-term assistance. In its proposal, emphasized the possibility of establishing an NFT assistance program in the near future in order to provide extra help.


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Ukrainian Defense Efforts Benefit from Crypto Crowdfunding

Key Takeaways

  • Ukrainian volunteer groups and non-governmental organizations received a record amount of funding via Bitcoin donations last year.
  • Most of these organizations are organized to defend against possible invasion by Russian forces.
  • Bitcoin donations to Ukrainian such interests were up by over 900% in 2021.

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Ukrainian volunteer groups organized to defend the nation against Russian invasion received a 900% increase in Bitcoin donations in 2021, according to a report today.

Defense Funding by Crypto

Ukrainian defense efforts received a boost of Bitcoin donations in 2021, per a report by blockchain forensics company Elliptic.

More than $500,000 worth of Bitcoin was used to crowdfund non-government organizations and volunteer groups in 2021. This amount represented a 900% increase in Bitcoin donations over 2020. 

Many of these “volunteer groups,” who are in effect citizen soldiers, have stepped in to supplement the Ukrainian military in the wake of its effective crumbling against the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014. They are largely funded by private donors.

Though the Elliptic report noted that cryptocurrencies still only accounted for a small portion of the funds allocated in fundraising campaigns, it is an increasingly common method of funding. Elliptic also emphasized digital currencies’ strengths with respect to cross-border payments, providing for “easier access to wealthy overseas donors.” 

Private donors who typically use bank wires and payment apps to support their choice of causes have increasingly turned to Bitcoin to get around the potential of their payments being denied. Additionally, accounts associated with various fundraising campaigns have been closed before by financial institutions. 

Elliptic specified various examples of Ukrainian organizations that had received funds. One such organization is Come Back Alive, which received nearly $200,000 in the latter half of last year. The organization predominantly provides support to the Ukrainian army.

Another group, Ukrainian Cyber Alliance, is solely funded via cryptocurrencies. It has received almost $100,000 in the past year via Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and stablecoins. Ukrainian Cyber Alliance primarily carries out cyber operations against Russia. 

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned BTC, ETH, and several other cryptocurrencies.

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FF3 Wants to Let Filmmakers Finance Movies With NFTs

Key Takeaways

  • A new platform called FF3 will allow filmmakers to fund their projects through the sale of NFTs that include intellectual property rights.
  • In addition to standard perks like collectibles, some of the NFTs will include the right to a share in the film’s revenue.
  • The innovation is part of growing wave of interest in NFTs within the film industry.

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FF3, a platform allowing independent filmmakers to finance their projects through NFT sales, will launch its first film financing project later this month. Titled “The Dead of Winter,” the raise is part of a larger wave of interest in NFT financing within the film industry.

A Boost for Indie Filmmakers 

Goldfinch, a London-based entertainment financing group, has announced the launch of FF3, a platform for financing independent filmmakers through NFT sales that grant partial ownership rights over the film’s IP, among other benefits. 

Through the platform, token holders will get access to varying tiers of NFTs, from collectibles like posters, directors’ notes, and scripts, to more exclusive perks such as access to the key filmmakers. Additionally, some of the NFTs will include ownership rights over the project’s intellectual property, which will entitle the holders to a share in the film’s revenue. Owners will also be able to resell the NFTs on the secondary market, thus enabling continuing royalties for the filmmakers and token holders.

The first film to launch on the FF3 platform is Stephen Graves’ horror thriller, The Dead of Winter. It will launch its funding round on FF3 on Jan. 24. 

According to Goldfinch, filmmakers stand to benefit from this for several reasons, including transparent ownership, access to multiple revenue streams, access to financing in cryptocurrency, and royalty payments through secondary market sales.

Nick Sadler, the founder of the First Flights program funding FF3, emphasized the difficulty independent filmmakers typically experience in trying to finance original content in a press release. He said: 

“There are limited options for emerging and established indie filmmakers to develop, fund and distribute their content, which means filmmakers choose between sacrificing ownership and control of their ideas or falling outside of the modern distribution and financing structures, which can leave worthy individuals, topics, and themes unfunded and underrepresented.”

Sadler said that using Web3 technology to fund movies was “a natural evolution” for First Flights given its focus on community building and added that he saw potential in the technology.  

According to Goldfinch Chief Operating Officer Phil McKenzie, the project may also have a DAO in the works. “Our vision is to establish a decentralized and autonomous decision-making community for patrons and creators to connect, create, and distribute film content,” he said, adding that its goal was to support new filmmakers as well as more established names in the industry.

DAOs, otherwise known as decentralized autonomous organizations, are increasingly gaining traction among crypto natives for non-crypto related activities . Late last year, a DAO known as ConstitutionDAO attempted to buy the a rare physical copy of the U.S. Constitution—it ultimately failed to do so, but it managed to raise more than $45 million in the attempt. PleasrDAO, a group originally formed to acquire an NFT by the crypto artist pplpleasr, also made headlines in October when it bought Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.” More recently, a DAO called BlockbusterDAO has emerged to buy out the now-defunct Blockbuster Video brand from Dish Network.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this feature owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies. 

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Bitcoin Book Published for Educating U.S. Congressmen, Secures Excess Funding on Kickstarter

An educational book on Bitcoin (BTC) proposed by a group of 8 individuals has gained more funds than solicited from public investors on the Kickstarter platform.

The book dubbed, “Bitcoin and the American Dream” is slated to help congressmen in the Senate and the House reconsider their conception of what Bitcoin represents from the way mainstream media have painted the premier digital currency. The authors said the book was inspired after the bipartisan infrastructure Bill has been passed.

The fundraising prompt reads:

“We are a diverse group of 8 Bitcoin enthusiasts who are publishing a Bitcoin book for policymakers in Washington DC. We come from all walks of life and are of different races, generations, geographical locations, and political parties,”

“What we have in common is that we all believe that Bitcoin is good for America and that’s the case we want to make in this book. This is an educational book for people in government so they can understand much better what’s going on instead of relying on the media narrative,” authors added.

The team led by Jimmy Song has received as many as 166 backers at the time of writing and has raised exactly $23,276 from a minimum pledge of $25. This raised fund has already surpassed expectations as the team set out to raise just $5,000 in total. The excess funds, according to the team, will now be going into the book’s launch campaign.

The team listed the risks of not being able to get published by its preferred publisher amongst others. Cryptocurrency education has been the hallmark of the digital currency ecosystem in recent times. As reported by Blockchain.News, Binance exchange has a dedicated crypto education in China and these did not underscore the fact that the broader industry is in need of more professional educators to help change wrong narratives about the space.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Kickstarter Announces That It Will Move to Blockchain

Key Takeaways

  • Kickstarter has announced that it will transition to blockchain.
  • Kickstarter’s user experience will remain the same, but blockchain will add governance and reward features behind the scenes.
  • The new blockchain platform will make use of Celo, a proof-of-stake-based carbon negative blockchain.

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Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter has announced that it will soon integrate its main service with blockchain technology.

Kickstarter Will Transition to Blockchain

Kickstarter says that will create a “decentralized version of [its] core functionality” that will “live on a public blockchain.”

The company noted that blockchain will make it easy to reward participation in new ways, and that it will also allow for the mixing of different protocols and software components.

Kickstarter’s platform will be built on Celo, a mobile-focused DeFi blockchain platform. The firm also drew attention to Celo’s carbon-negative features, namely the fact that it relies on proof-of-stake and uses its token to offset greenhouse gas emissions.

Blockchain Will Add Governance Features

Kickstarter will also establish a governance lab that will help direct the development of the protocol. The firm noted the growth of alternative governance models and believes there is an “important opportunity to advance these efforts using the blockchain.”

While this will involve voting rights, Kickstarter did not indicate whether it would create a governance token for this purpose.

More details will be revealed in a whitepaper set to be published by the company in the coming weeks.

Changes Are Behind the Scenes

Development will be led through an independent organization called Kickstarter PBC. Kickstarter itself will later be transitioned to this platform, albeit in a way that works behind the scenes.

“You won’t see the [blockchain] protocol, but you will benefit from its improvements,” Kickstarter explained in its blog post, assuring users that the overall user experience will remain the same.

Kickstarter was created in 2009 and has handled more than $6 billion of pledges for 200,000 projects. Along with Patreon and GoFundMe, it is one of the largest creator funding platforms.

The company’s closest blockchain competitors at the moment are monetization platforms like Coil and Gitcoin, as well as specific crowdfunding DAOs such as ConstitutionDAO.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing this author held less than $100 of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and altcoins.

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Kickstarter plans to migrate to platform built on Celo blockchain

Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter will be launching a new company that will eventually see its website move to a blockchain-based system on Celo. 

In a Wednesday blog post, CEO Aziz Hasan and co-founder Perry Chen said Kickstarter would be developing an open source protocol that will live on the Celo blockchain. The two execs cited the blockchain’s efforts in minimizing its environmental impact — being carbon negative — in addition to the fact it was open source.

“We are entering a significant moment for alternative governance models, and we think there’s an important opportunity to advance these efforts using the blockchain,” said Chen and Hasan.

Bloomberg reported that Kickstarter planned to transition its website to the blockchain platform in 2022, with the project announcing it would release a white paper “in the coming weeks.” Kickstarter reportedly said the migration will not affect any of the millions of users currently using the platform to crowdfund for projects including medical and fitness products, artwork, books, and movies.

In addition, Kickstarter said it planned to establish a governance lab “overseeing the development of the protocol governance.” Purpose Foundation executive director and co-founder Camille Canon will be leading the effort.

Related: A Community-Governed DeFi Platform Makes Crowdfunding Decentralized

With the emerging crypto space, certain projects that might have received money through Kickstarter have shifted to distributed autonomous organizations. In November, a group called ConstitutionDAO attempted to purchase a first edition print copy of the U.S. Constitution, in which 17,437 backers were issued governance tokens called PEOPLE. Though the DAO failed to make the winning bid, its token price surged after the team behind the project allowed users to continue holding the tokens.

First launched in 2009, Kickstarter reported 21 million people have pledged more than $6 billion to back 213,034 projects using the crowdfunding platform, including the Peloton bike and the 2014 movie Veronica Mars.