Turkish Nonprofits Raise Millions of Dollars in Crypto for Earthquake Response

Non-profit organizations new to cryptocurrency are leading an effort to raise millions of dollars in crypto to aid victims of the region’s major earthquake.

Turkish singer Haluk Levent’s charity Ahbap is leading the response with roughly $2 million in crypto donations raised on the Avalanche, BSC and Ethereum blockchains in less than a day. Local exchange Paribu is also fundraising for two nonprofits assisting in the response.

On Twitter, Levent claimed the addresses had been approved by Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) in spite of the ban of crypto payments by the Central Bank in April 2021. MASAK did not immediately comment.

The world’s largest crypto exchange Binance also pledged to airdrop $100 in BNB, Binance’s native token, to its Turkish users, a sum worth roughly $5 million.

The effort is the latest example of crypto being used to crowdfund cross-border responses. Ukraine’s government raised millions of dollars for its war effort early last year.

At press time, AVAX, Avalanche’s native token, makes up 55.56% of total donations sent to the Ahbap’s cryptocurrency addresses, worth some $1.1 million, per Nansen. The Avalanche foundation had pledged $1 million

Moreover, 42.65% of total donations come from a variety of stablecoins, a type of cryptocurrency whose value is directly tied to the U.S. dollar. Crypto users have donated roughly $788,000 in USDT, USDC and BUSD.

Serdar Turan and Alp Börü contributed reporting.