US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has received intense criticism for giving Venezuelan families a grand total of $1 per day – in altcoin ZCash, which it added to its books days previously.
In a blog post December 11, executives claimed that the initiative dubbed the “12 Days of Coinbase,” was meant to “empower those who don’t have enough.”
Coinbase completed a rollout of ZCash to its own traders December 5, the price of which currently sits at its lowest since April 2017.
“Recipients can purchase food and basic supplies at a local store that accepts payments in crypto, subsidizing everyday expenses — this $1 USD equivalent per day can buy 1–2 kilos of protein or 2-kilos of starches and vegetables,” the post reads.
The initiative will award 100 families $1 daily for three months via GiveCrypto, a spin-off enterprise from Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong.
As soon as the plans went public, however, both Coinbase and Armstrong himself faced a barrage of negative publicity ranging from skepticism over their efficacy to outright disgust.
On Twitter, commentators, including those living in poverty-stricken Venezuela, said the priority of schemes such as this and that of fellow altcoin Dash was not to help those in need but rather to market altcoins.
Venezuela, they suggested, was being used by $8 billion Coinbase as a guinea pig to serve its own aims.
“I do not see how donations from # cryptocurrencies help individuals in (Venezuela),” José Rafael Peña, editor of Spanish-language cryptocurrency news outlet CryptoNoticias wrote.
I have seen so many campaigns to give away crypts to individuals, that I only see it as an advertising strategy for those who plan to donate them.
Opinión personal no popular: No veo en qué forma ayuda las donaciones de #criptomonedas a individuos en #Venezuela. He visto tantas campañas para regalar criptos a individuos, que solo lo veo como una estrategia publicitaria de quien piensa donarlas.
— José Rafael Peña (@joc_ra) December 11, 2018
‘You Piece Of Sh*t’
Others were much more damning.
Addressing Armstrong, software developer Udi Wertheimer lambasted what he viewed as a display of miserliness.
“The ‘Venezuela meme’ has been overused by ‘crypto’ scammers for years now, but I’m shocked to see Brian do the same,” he tweeted.
“Giving $1-worth of Zcash to Venezuelan families? (Get the f*ck out). Give them USD cash you piece of shit. Unbelievable[.]”
Coinbase’s publicity woes had continued from last week. Publishing an article about the exchange’s plans to introduce 30 new altcoins to its books, TechCrunch – perhaps inadvertently – gave it a URL describing Coinbase as “dabbling in shitcoins.”
The move became an incongruous hit on social media, seeing comments from some of the cryptocurrency industry’s best-known names.
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