Digibyte in Venezuela

In an effort to highlight the humanitarian efforts of a strong community in the cryptocurrency space, Jacob Keteyian – a master’s candidate in Health Management at Harvard – details why Venezuela needs aid, how “sound money” might help, and how the humanitarian effort is being organized.

Venezuela has been facing social and economic unrest for the last several years. Hyperinflation and poor governmental price control policies have contributed to a myriad of problems for the country: hospitals are at a breaking point, children are hungry, and a number of countries have said they will not recognize the new government.

This time, the DigiByte community raised roughly 600,000 DGB (~$20,000 at time of writing) to go back to the country to have a bigger impact than last time.

One community is leading an effort to help, again. The first time, the community crowd funded resources to send crypto enthusiast David Hay to Venezuela. This time, the DigiByte community raised roughly 600,000 DGB (~$20,000 at time of writing) to go back to the country to have a bigger impact than last time.

Why Does Venezuela Need Help?

Digibyte Coin

Venezuela’s inflation rate is on its way to nearly 1 million percent. This hyperinflation has been driven in part by the government’s willingness to print additional fiat currency and its willingness to increase the minimum wage to regain popularity with low-income voters. The government has recently defaulted on some of its governmental bonds and has decided to combat their subsequent credit ailments with printing more currency – this is continuing to undermine the value of their fiat currency. Unfortunately, this economic formula has proven to be a recipe for disaster.

Infant mortality rose by 30 percent in 2016 and malaria infections shot up 76 percent in Venezuela, according to a report from Reuters. Many hospitals in the country lack electricity and more than 13,000 physicians have left Venezuela in the past four years in search of better opportunities, according to an article from NPR. Citizens are in need of food, water, clothes, and access to healthcare; simply put, Venezuela is fighting a public health crisis that may have been minimized if they had a more stable currency.

How Could Digital Currency Help?

The monthly minimum wage for most Venezuelan’s is now approximately $3 USD. To hedge against this type of inflation, digital currency could serve as a means to stabilize, or supplement, a country’s monetary supply. Of course, cryptocurrency is volatile and no digital asset should simply replace a country’s current monetary supply. The global crypto market saw extreme volatility in just a few months when it went on a wild ride from December 2017 to early 2018. The inflation discussion in the cryptocurrency space is a hot topic; but, it stands to reason that a larger supply of “sound money” would mitigate some of the inflation seen in traditional economic systems, whereas the purchasing power of “unsound money” gradually drops over time.

Outside of a potential hedge against inflation, blockchain technology might be able to make a dent in poverty in emerging markets via financial inclusion, mitigating corruption, and offering microfinancing, according to an article in Forbes.

Blockchain technology might be able to make a dent in poverty in emerging markets via financial inclusion, mitigating corruption, and offering microfinancing.

What Exactly is DigiByte Doing to Help?

DigiByte community member, Josiah Spackman, has been organizing and leading the charge for the community. He and the community are focused on impact based results that are more tangible than transaction speed.

The last time members of the DigiByte community went to Venezuela they were able to give “1,000 bottles of water to the Red Cross and enough food to feed 160 children at an orphanage for a month,” according to a Medium article written by Spackman.

[Members of the DigiByte Community] were able to give '1,000 bottles of water to the Red Cross and enough food to feed 160 children at an orphanage for a month.'

On this trip, the community has raised more than ever before and plans to have a similar impact including, but not limited to: improving local schools and shelters, working with local foundations to provide food for those in need, and bringing internet access to Adicora to help stimulate the local economy. This time around, Venezuelan children have been set up with DigiByte wallets and the community can donate directly to the children’s wallets. Even a $3 USD donation could feed a child for a month!

The Final Word

DigiByte’s trip to Venezuela is a great example of a community in the cryptocurrency space coming together to combat real world issues on the public health front: hyperinflation has led to near-chaos, a lack of food, water, and wide-spread infrastructure problems have compounded the problems the citizens face.

If you want to help the community fundraise for the next effort, or wish to discuss new blockchain technology ventures that might mitigate some of these problems in the future feel free to reach out using the information below.

Status update for the project at the time of writing, according to an Ambassador of the DigiByte Foundation:

With this fundraising effort, the DigiByte community has helped provide an orphanage with nearly 5,000 days worth of food, helped provide people crossing the border with clean drinking water, and as mentioned above, helped a hospital in Adicora!


How Can You Help?

To be a part of the community and contribute to the next fundraiser you can download a wallet on your laptop or mobile device.


Jacob A. Keteyian is a master’s candidate in Health Management at Harvard.

Those interested in development or learning more can connect with the DigiByte team by visiting their website or reaching out directly to ammar@digibyte.io.

The information provided in this educational series is intended to enable developers and investors to understand the nature of DigiByte’s technology. This article is not intended as and does not constitute investment advice of any kind. The views expressed in this article are solely that of the author, and does not represent that of The Harvard Crimson. Keteyian encourages you to conduct thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency and he is not being compensated by any party for this educational series.


The Crimson's news and opinion teams—including writers, editors, photographers, and designers—were not involved in the production of this article.