Tonga receives hundreds of bitcoin donations after volcano devastation

More than $40,000 already raised by Tongan politician and crypto advocate Lord Fusitu’a

Anthony Cuthbertson
Tuesday 18 January 2022 12:52 GMT
<p>A plume rises over Tonga after the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai erupted</p>

A plume rises over Tonga after the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai erupted

Hundreds of bitcoin donations have been made to a Tonga relief fund set up to aid recovery efforts following a devastating volcanic eruption.

Set up by Tongan politician and crypto advocate Lord Fusitu’a, the BTC wallet received more than $40,000 through 250 separate donations within three days of going live.

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The full extent of the damage inflicted by the underwater eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Saturday is still not known, though there are fears of a possible humanitarian crisis developing in the tiny Pacific nation.

The ash cloud that has blanketed the country is hampering flights to the country, while the eruption also severed an undersea cable that provided communication with the rest of the world.

The government of Tonga has so far confirmed three casualties, including 50-year-old British national Angela Glover, a 49-year-old man from Nomuka island and a 65-year-old woman from Mango island.

Glover died after a tsunami caused by the eruption hit their coastal home in the low-lying Veitongo area of the country.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is currently working with other UN agencies and partners to support Tonga amid the emerging crisis.

Initial efforts are focussing on communications, logistics, water and sanitation.

Dozens of people shared Lord Fusitu’a’s call for crypto donations to help with relief efforts.

Lord Fusitu’a has previously spoken about plans to develop bitcoin mining facilities that run off the geothermal energy generated by volcanos in the country.

He is also leading a proposal to make the cryptocurrency an official form of currency in Tonga, with a vote in parliament planned for May. If successful, it would make Tonga only the second country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, following El Salvador’s landmark legislation introduced last year.

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