Photo: Medium retrieved.

Common sense says you shouldn’t wash your teeth with bleach, you shouldn’t walk around Carapita on your own at 2:00 a.m., and you can’t help Venezuelans from abroad by sending direct cash transfers. Not only are we under communist currency exchange controls, but the government has also been denying and blocking international humanitarian aid for years.

Well, Joe Waltman has decided to put those controls to the test.

On September 7, Waltman published this post. He was the newly appointed executive director of GiveCrypto.org, and spoke about sending money to people in need, all over the world. Tests are about done in places like Uganda, Lebanon… and Venezuela.

In a Reddit post, he explains how he offered $10 in Ethereum to anyone filling a form saying what they would do with the money. $5 first, $5 after pictures of the food bought with the money (and the receipt) are sent.

50 users filled the form within nine hours, and by the time he published the report, 31 followed through, pictures and all.

Bringing crypto to El Pueblo.

In a second test, Waltman contacted restaurants accepting cryptocurrencies in Venezuela, offering two of them $100, so they could give food to people in need.

One of those restaurants was El Portal Grill, by the way.

He’s beating our controls, through folks experienced with crypto. There are many examples of this, and not all of them come from super techie companies running fancy experiments to spread crypto better and, like, change the world.

One Reddit user, Windows7733, says he bought more than 100 kg worth of food using donations from the nano community, all with a Reddit post. He didn’t have to set up a GoFundMe through a friend with an American bank account, he didn’t use a shady third party to handle the transaction.

He received the money, bought the food and, I presume, ate.

Better than CLAP

On June 27, Brian Armstrong, GiveCrypto.org founder, said, “there are so many early holders of cryptocurrency who’ve become wealthy, I’m excited to see them begin to engage in philanthropy. If it helps further cryptocurrency adoption at the same time, that’s a win-win.”

Many people abroad are lining up to help Venezuela, and with cryptocurrencies they totally can. If you set aside for a second that we now are one of those poor nations in need of help, this is exciting.

I’m not super into sending money to random Reddit users; ideally, they’d send money to well-reputed NGOs that are already doing an amazing job in Venezuela with increasingly less resources. But do these organizations know how to use cryptocurrencies like “Windows7733” does?

We’ll get there.

UPDATE (PLOT TWIST): windows4477 got more money after his first post got kind of viral in the crypto world, and his story was mentioned in many crypto sites. That’s why I didn’t think of digging deeper. Well, thanks to some good folks from the Venezuelan crypto-community I learned that -apparently- the dude cashed out and exit-scammed everyone.

It’s sad -but also kind of hilarious-, that this was one of the examples in the post. Although this is exactly what this section is about, a space to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of cryptocurrency. There’s still a lot that needs to be drilled down. At this point, experience and communication are key. Anyways, now let me just emphasize something that I did mention in the post: giving money to random reddit users? Not a great idea.

This piece is part of our #Omichronicles series in partnership with Omipedia. If you want to help bring crypto to the masses, create an account here and share your knowledge! 

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.