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Starving Afghans Use Crypto To Sidestep US Sanctions, Failing Banks, and the Taliban

Thursday January 20, 2022. 07:05 PM , from Slashdot
NGOs looking to provide emergency aid to Afghanistan are turning to cryptocurrency. From a report: When the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August of last year, Fereshteh Forough feared that the group would close her school in Herat, the country's third-largest city. Code to Inspire, an NGO Forough founded, was teaching computer programming to young Afghan women, and the Taliban oppose secondary education for women. Months later, the picture is much different -- and worse -- from what Forough imagined. The school survived, becoming mostly virtual, but has transformed from a coding boot camp into a relief organization. The biggest risk for Forough's students wasn't lack of education, it was hunger. Forough looked for a way to provide emergency checks to the women but was stymied by banks that don't want to risk violating severe U.S. sanctions.

JPMorgan Chase repeatedly blocked her attempts to transfer money, she said, and she grew increasingly alarmed by students who said they couldn't access cash at local Afghan banks -- many of which have closed or imposed strict withdrawal limits. In response, she turned to cryptocurrency to provide monthly emergency payments to help students afford enough food to survive. There are several advantages to using crypto: Afghans fleeing the Taliban can take their assets with them without risk. Humanitarian agencies seeking to bypass banks and discreetly avoid the Taliban can provide cash directly to those in need. Smugglers and intermediaries who may steal or try to resell aid packages can be circumvented if aid is given directly through a digital transaction.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.
https://slashdot.org/story/22/01/20/173234/starving-afghans-use-crypto-to-sidestep-us-sanctions-fail...

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