The United Nations refugee agency, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), is set to begin assisting displaced Ukrainians via digital wallets running on the Stellar ($XLM) network using the USDC stablecoin.
According to a recent announcement, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has launched a program to use the Stellar blockchain to transfer USDC, a stablecoin created by Circle and Coinbase that is backed by US dollars and short-term US Treasury securities, to Ukrainians affected by Russia’s invasion of the country.
Ukrainians can then take their money and exchange it for euros, dollars, or other currencies at MoneyGram locations worldwide. There are 4,500 such locations available in Ukraine.
Using USDC on Stellar is intended to help displaced people get money faster while also lowering the risk of theft or loss while they are on the move. Karolina Lindholm Billing, UNHCR’s representative in Ukraine, stated that “time is of the essence in humanitarian action,” and added:
UNHCR has been collaborating for years with the tech sector, which has played a crucial role in helping us to innovate to deliver assistance faster, as speed is of the essence in humanitarian action.
Earlier this year, the Ukrainian government made notable use of cryptocurrencies. It raised approximately $100 million in cryptocurrency donations shortly after Russia’s invasion began, and later launched a non-fungible token (NFT) collection to raise additional funds.
The UNHCR program is being piloted in the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv, Lviv, and Vinnytsia in collaboration with the Stellar Development Foundation. The program will be expanded to other regions in the future.
To receive funds, users must download the Vibrant cryptocurrency wallet application. They will receive USDC on their accounts, which they can then exchange. The Stellar Development Foundation collaborated on the project’s development.
“A non-profit organization founded in 2014 to support the development and growth of the open-source Stellar network,” according to the Stellar Development Foundation. It collaborated earlier this year with Mercado Bitcoin, Latin America’s largest crypto exchange, to develop a project that will investigate use cases for a central bank digital currency (CBDC).