To aid Ukrainian refugees and others affected by the war, the UN Refugee Agency piloted a digital cash payment system powered by the Stellar network, Circle’s USDC, Vibrant, and MoneyGram.
The programme will ensure that cash assistance is delivered directly into the hands of those in need in a timely, efficient, and secure manner, with full value transfer traceability and accountability.
Instead of providing individuals with physical cash that may be difficult or dangerous to store and move, the project allows them to receive digital dollars remotely, hold them as a store of value to hedge against inflation, and transport them more securely across borders as needed.
According to the announcement, the project’s pilot phase is intended for Ukraine but can be adapted globally. UNHCR confirms eligibility and distributes assistance in Circle Internet Financial’s USD Coin (USDC) directly into a recipient’s Vibrant digital wallet, which can be downloaded onto a smartphone.
This provides a safe place to store and transport USDC funds, as well as a stable store of value, allowing people to travel within the country or across borders without carrying cash. Clients can use MoneyGram’s 400K+ agent locations in 175 countries to convert digital dollars to real currency almost anywhere in the world.
SDF, together with UNHCR, is realizing the promise of blockchain and pioneering a new future for the delivery of billions of dollars in aid disbursed annually,” said Denelle Dixon, Stellar Development Foundation CEO and Executive Director. “We are proud to work with UNHCR to deploy blockchain innovations that will play a role in assisting those in crisis he added.
The programme is being piloted in Kyiv, Lviv, and Vinnytsia and will be expanded to other Ukrainian towns and cities. The funds will be used to provide humanitarian assistance to some of the most impacted and vulnerable people due to the war, assisting them in meeting basic needs such as rent, food, medical care, and heating during the winter.
The solution has been extensively tested over the last six months and is expected to be expanded in early 2023 to reach more war-affected people within Ukraine and refugees from Ukraine.