Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, on Wednesday donated Ethereum and “meme coins” worth $1.5 billion in one of the largest-ever individual philanthropy efforts.
Buterin transferred 500 ETH and over 50 trillion SHIB (Shiba Inu), a meme coin, worth around $1.14 billion at the time of transaction, to the India COVID-Crypto Relief Fund. The transaction sparked panic among some investors, with SHIB’s price dropping by over 35% in the past 24 hours.
The meme coin which courted retail investors in China and elsewhere following recent surges in the Dogecoin cryptocurrency, managed to garner billions (USD) worth of investment in recent days before today’s crash. Buterin’s donation of SHIB — which was sent to him without his consent in the first place — comes at a time when India is grappling with a surge in the coronavirus infections in the country.
Sandeep Nailwal, who put together the Indian relief fund and co-founded crypto organization Polygon, said in a tweet that he won’t do anything that hurts “any community specially the retail community involved with SHIB.”
Buterin also transferred Ethereum and Dogelon Mars (ELON) — another meme coin — worth $336 million to Methuselah Foundation, a non-profit that supports efforts in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine therapies; and over 13,000 ETH to Givewell, a non-profit organization that works to curate the best charities around the world. Buterin also donated to Gitcoin Community, MIRI, and Charter Cities Institute.
India has been reporting over 350,000 daily infections and over 3,500 fatalities for the last two weeks. The second wave of the coronavirus has overwhelmed the South Asian nation’s healthcare system, leaving countless of people to scramble for hospital beds, medical oxygen and other supplies.