UNHCR launches blockchain payment solution to help Ukrainians displaced by war

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently said it has launched a blockchain-based payment solution for the digital distribution of cash to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine. According to the agency, the use of the blockchain-based money distribution system ensures that funds are instantly transferred to intended beneficiaries.

Only the “most affected and vulnerable” are eligible

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF), an organization supporting the growth of the Stellar blockchain, announced on December 15 the launch of a “blockchain-based payment solution for the distribution of digital money to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and others affected by the war in Ukraine“.

In a statement the agency said that it had been, along with the United Nations International Computing Center (UNICC), the first “to pilot the new Stellar-based aid disbursement solution“. Welcoming the pilot phase, which is designed specifically for Ukraine, UNHCR said the use of the system ensures that funds reach the intended beneficiaries.

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Under the agreement, eligible Ukrainians will receive the donated funds in the form of the stable currency USDC. Recipients can choose to store the funds in their Vibrant wallet or withdraw them at any Moneygram branch worldwide. Recipients can also do this in “More than 4,500 Moneygram offices in Ukraine“.

Although there are plans to expand the program to other Ukrainian cities, the release only lists three cities: Kiev, Lviv and Vinnytsia are currently participating. The expected beneficiaries of the pilot project are “the most affected and vulnerable people due to the war“.

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The pilot program should “strengthen humanitarian efforts.”

Commenting on the agency’s pilot cash distribution program, Karolina Lindholm Billing, UNHCR representative in Ukraine, said:

“Ukraine is a world leader in developing technical solutions to increase access to social protection, including assistance to IDPs. Around the world, UNHCR has been working for years with the technology sector, which has played a crucial role in helping us innovate to deliver assistance more quickly, as speed is essential in humanitarian action. It is also essential to provide people with a range of options for receiving assistance, as one size does not fit all.”

Denelle Dixon, CEO and executive director of SDF, said the partnership between her organization and UNHCR has paved the way for “a new future for the delivery of billions of dollars in aid each year.“For his part, Oleksandr Bornyakov, Ukraine’s deputy minister of digital transformation, said the pilot program is likely to strengthen “humanitarian efforts around the world.

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