After a powerful earthquake devastated parts of Morocco on Friday, September 8, global charities and aid organizations scrambled to provide emergency relief.
International groups like the IFRC immediately got to work raising funds and co-ordinating on-the-ground rescue missions.
But alongside responses from organizations specializing in disaster relief work, the charitable arm of Binance has come up with a novel approach to dispersing emergency funds: airdropping tokens to earthquake victims.
In a statement on Monday, September 11, Binance Charity said it is preparing to airdrop $3M worth of BNB tokens to Binance users struck by the recent catastrophe in Morocco.
To identify which users are most likely to have been affected by the earthquake, the airdrop will target users residing in Marrakesh-Safi Province who have verified their residence using Proof of Address (POA).
All users who completed POA verification before September 9 will receive BNB worth $100 directly to their Binance accounts.
Those who missed the cutoff point, but complete their POA before September 30, will be eligible for a $25 BNB airdrop. A nationwide $10 airdrop will also be distributed to users across the country.
Commenting on the move, Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao said:
“The impact of the earthquake on the Moroccan people is devastating. We hope we can bring some support to those affected. For Moroccan users who receive these donations but are unimpacted by the earthquake, we ask them to pass the funds on to those most in need.”
For the tens of thousands of Moroccans displaced by last week’s earthquake, the country’s high rate of financial exclusion complicates recovery efforts.
According to a 2022 study by Merchant Machine, Morocco is the most cash-dependent country in the world. In a nation where 71% of the population is unbanked, cash accounts for 74% of all purchases. Meanwhile, just 0.2% of Moroccans own a credit card.
With entire villages destroyed by the 6.8 magnitude earthquake, cash-based households face the prospect of rebuilding livelihoods without whatever money they had saved up.
Yet, despite Morocco’s low banking levels, the country’s digital infrastructure has created an alternative route to financial empowerment.
Broadband download speeds in the North African nation average 27.21 Mbps—not exactly world-leading, but above ahead of many of its regional peers.
Meanwhile, research by Open Signal found that Moroccan 4G penetration was among the best in Africa, with the leading providers maintaining over 90% coverage.
The combination of low financial inclusion and high rates of internet access make Morocco an ideal candidate for the deployment of crypto-based financial services.
In fact, many Moroccans have already embraced cryptocurrencies. For example, in Chainalysis’ 2022 Crypto Adoption Index , the country ranked 14th globally.
With a growing population of crypto users, Binance Charity expects its airdrop to reach around 70,000 Binance customers living in Morocco.
In the aftermath of natural disasters, such low-cost, borderless crypto transactions could prove a lifeline to people who have lost access to traditional banking.