Crypto Fire Alliance completes fundraising for Australian bushfires
Bushfire season has officially ended and with it the Crypto Fire Alliance fundraising effort.
The official fire season in New South Wales ended on 31 March, wrapping up the most devastating fire season in Australia's history. In New South Wales alone more than 5.5 million hectares, equivalent to 6.2% of the total area of the state, has been burnt.
At the time, some people argued that the bushfires were a dangerous and unusual disaster that warranted a stronger response. There were arguments that we should have known it was coming and prepared better, and that our response was ultimately inadequate given the scope of the disaster.
Others countered that it wasn't as big a deal as people made it out to be, and that the media was just scaremongering in search of attention. Australia has bushfires every year, they said, so there's no reason to succumb to a sense of panic just because this one is spreading a bit more quickly and burning a bit hotter than most.
Either way, the economic impacts were clear. Consumer spending dropped due to the fires, while important sectors such as tourism were hit especially hard by a sudden lack of visitors. Before it was over the historical fires had been crowned the costliest natural disaster in Australia's history.
Among the crisis, some people were accused of using the fires as an excuse to shoehorn political changes through. And some people, perhaps frustrated by the thought of facing nature itself, in all its indifference and intangibility, started fixating on the idea that there must be someone to hold accountable.
As the fires spread further and faster, hazardous particles filled the air and medical professionals began issuing health warnings. People with an existing respiratory condition were at especially high risk, they noted. Australians began working from home when they could, and otherwise changing their behaviour to try to reduce their exposure.
Protective face masks became a hot item, triggering a series of occasionally contradictory arguments on whether or not they were useful and exactly what kind of mask would get the job done.
As they fought to save people from the fire and slow its spread, frontline emergency services workers entered the spotlight. "Real heroes" was the phrase of the day, social media filled up with pictures of firefighters and messages of support and every day brought a harrowing new story from the front lines.
But emergency services workers quickly found themselves struggling with a lack of equipment, including face masks, which put them in additional danger and forced them to improvise and call on the support of the general public.
The public answered that call, variously donating their time, money, equipment and unqualified opinions to the cause.
The Crypto Fire Alliance was among the supporters. Composed of Australian and international cryptocurrency businesses, it rallied to raise AUD$27,481.06 in cryptocurrency, to be divided among several very worthwhile causes.
With the official end of the New South Wales fire season, fundraising is now closed. The cryptocurrency has been dollar-fied¹ and the money has been evenly divided² among the following organisations:
- The New South Wales Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA)
- Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Services (WIRES)
- The Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund
2 Funds raised were donated proportionally to the time at which notice of supported charities was added to the finder.com.au/crypto-bushfire-fundraiser page. This was to ensure that donations made were delivered to the supported charities as the donor would have understood them to be at the time of donation. The fundraiser started on the 7th of January with only The New South Wales Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) supported, and expanded on the 10th of January at 5:42pm AEDT to include The Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund, and Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Services (WIRES). During the time where only the RFSA was listed, AUD$1,078.69 was raised.
The NSW RFSA
The New South Wales Rural Fire Service Association is the largest volunteer fire service in the world. It's responsible for the 95% of New South Wales that lies outside the city of Sydney. You can check out its current activities on its website for a sense of its responsibilities.
During the height of the fire season, the RFSA was fielding an average of 2,500 firefighters each shift. On the heaviest days, it had up to 4,000 firefighters in the field at once.
Those enormous efforts, and its continued efforts going forward, are made possible by donations. It's also made possible by volunteers, so consider applying.
The official fire season is over, but the RFSA's job never ends.
Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Services (WIRES).
WIRES is sheltering and rehabilitating animals injured and displaced by the fires. But beyond that, it’s also known for its information campaigns and training courses for volunteers, which helps give more people the right skills to help animals in need wherever they are.
The Red Cross
During the fires, the Red Cross helped those who had been displaced, with food, shelter and other support.
This support proved to be critical. With thousands of people fleeing the fires, towns around Australia filled up. Grocery store shelves were swept clean of food and water and any available accommodation was filled.
To make matters worse, some of those towns were cut off by the fires. The Red Cross provided essential support as firefighters worked to re-open the roads.
There will almost always be more assistance needed than is available, so every dollar helps.
What better than to own a unique digital race car that directly supported Aussies in need?
One of the largest contributions to all three of these causes came from Animoca Brands, whose team created and auctioned off a unique, in every sense of the word, non-fungible token attached to the Australia Edition 2020 Apex race car, to be used in the upcoming F1 Delta Time blockchain based racing game.
The winning bid came in at 51 ETH worth approximately AUD$10,800 at the time. Yes, that's 51 ETH paid (and donated) to own a 100% digital race car!
The nature of the token though, and what it can be used for, sets it somewhat apart from a simple donation, with most charity auction winners, after all, not standing to potentially turn a profit from their purchase.
It's an interesting example of how cryptocurrency can potentially open up some new win-win-win opportunities with a bit of creativity.
And following a brand new release, it can now for the first time be raced in the F1 Delta Time time trial mode, which lets winners race their non-fungible token vehicles to earn some very real rewards from the game's prize pool.
There will be a new course released each day for competitors to fight for the prize pool, and some extra bonuses.
On top of the normal rewards, winners can also pick up some extra ETH and more non-fungible tokens at the moment.
The Crypto Fire Alliance was formed, an initiative that brought together the crypto community from around the world
Elsewhere in Australia, and around the world, many others pulled together to make this possible. Beyond just giving cryptocurrency, many people donated their valuable time, skills, platforms and talents to make it possible.
As Australia shifts gears from the bushfires to the coronavirus crisis, accompanied by just a little bit of deja vu, it's worth remembering how many different ways there are for everyone to pull together and make a difference, and that it doesn't always mean spending money.
How it all went down
Hot off the gun with support, the team at Blockchain Australia and S2M were quick to expand the growing telegram group full of individuals and companies exploring how to help make it all come together.
The Crypto Fire Alliance website was built and donated by the team at Coinstop, an awareness video for the effort (below) was crafted in no time by Rob Rosenberg Creative and Hank Mango, and the Crypto Fire Alliance got it's very own logo designed and donated by Bowater Media.
While there was plenty of companies doing their part to help individually, the goal of the Crypto Fire Alliance was to expand beyond what any individual or entity could achieve on their own. Mine Digital stood up to lead by example and played a significant role in driving the initiative beyond the bounds of something that risked a perception of being "owned" by HiveEx and Finder who kicked things off, and shift the initiative truly into the hands of the broader ecosystem to back each other in doing the right thing.
Mine Digital donated .405 BTC worth about AUD$5,000 at the time, and further, was the primary sponsor to events held in Sydney and Melbourne alongside BTC Markets, Decred, Session, Mining Store, and Blockchain Australia.
At the events, educational packages by Trader Cobb were auctioned for a total of $1,250, and a further $550 in proceeds was raised for the auction of two CryptoTag Zeus steel plated cold storage wallets, and $350 for the auction of a Trezor hardware wallet and an educational package by Crypto Jo.
The effort travelled overseas, receiving support in CityAM's CryptoAM weekly newspaper print, both with articles and donated advertising space to drive awareness in the UK market. But it didn't end there, articles were published abroad all the way to Norway, with Kryptografen covering the initiative and further donating to the cause, and community groups were littered with the effort driving donations from just about every continent. Further, Swyftx, Bit Trade and Travel By Bit all had existing means for their users to donate in support of various causes, the three companies united efforts by directing their customers and audiences to the Crypto Fire Alliance website.
Given the nature that the majority of donations were raised in cryptocurrency, many, many contributors are (almost) impossible to name or identify. These are the people from across the globe and within the communities of the Crypto Fire Alliance members, who stood up and chose to help.
Without the actions of everyone that came together here, these efforts would have all fallen flat. So on behalf of the Crypto Fire Alliance, thank you!
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This article is dedicated to all the asthmatic tourism industry workers on the New South Wales central coast, because wow you guys are really having a hell of a year, eh?