In April 2021, Vitalik Buterin, 27, became the world’s youngest crypto billionaire when the price of several ‘meme’ cryptocurrencies rose sharply in response to coordinated grassroots trading efforts. Buterin, who founded the crypto platform Ethereum, previously held hundreds of thousands of NFT tokens from SHIB (Shiba Inu coin), ELON (Dogelon), and AKITA (Akita Inu), mostly given to him by the developers of those coins as a means of market manipulation. He received those tokens on the premise that he would not sell them, and he hasn’t.
He’s given them away, instead.
On Wednesday, May 12, Vitalik Buterin donated 50 trillion SHIB tokens to the India Covid Relief Fund being run by Indian tech expert Sandeep Nailwal. At that moment, the tokens were collectively worth $1.2 billion, but the transfer of such a massive amount of coin (approximately one-quarter of the entire currency) instantly devalued the cryptocurrency between 20 and 36 percent, meaning the actual donation has devalued by the same amount. It may yet recover, but only time will tell. Crypto is always unpredictable.
Fortunately, Nailwal is familiar enough with crypto not to panic and sell immediately. He intends to hold onto the tokens long enough to see if this is just a panic-induced dip or a true decline in value.
Hopefully, he won’t have to wait too long. India is in dire need of liquid cash for aid – the country is in the grips of the current worst COVID hot-spot and desperately short on needed resources for it, such as medical staff, PPE, and, most critically, oxygen.
Vitalik Buterin also donated $50 million worth of the much more stable cryptocurrency Ether, his own invention, to GiveWell, a middleman for dispensing money to smaller nonprofits. Unlike SHIB, Ether saw no market dip at all, fortunately, meaning GiveWell is safe to liquidize it immediately.