Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin and Polygon’s Sandeep Nailwal are pledging another $100 million toward Covid-19 research and pandemic preparedness projects.
Nailwal’s Crypto Relief Fund already put $100 million toward Covid-19 research projects that Buterin wanted to fund last year. Now the pair will be contributing $100 million in follow-on grants, according to a thread on Twitter.
“Covid and future pandemics are a global problem that requires a global solution combining frontier scientific innovation and on-the-ground implementation all over the world,” said Buterin on Twitter. “Work in India continues to be a key part of the solution, but we also need an integrated global approach.”
Buterin will work with Crypto Relief, a nonprofit organization in India founded by Nailwal, to distribute the funds. The $100 million follow-on grant is made up of a $90 million donation in stablecoin USDC from Crypto Relief combined with another $10 million that Buterin is personally donating. Crypto Relief secured $90 million by selling the Shiba Inu (SHIB) tokens sent to them by Buterin in 2021.
The creators of Shiba Inu sent around 50% of its token supply to Buterin in 2020 to generate hype for the project. However, Buterin destroyed around 90% of the tokens he was sent and donated the remaining 10%. Buterin will manage the funds for the follow-on grants from a multi-sig wallet under this address.
Buterin and Nailwal insist on “maximal viable open-source” for anything they fund and will make a particular focus on funding projects looking into indoor air quality due to research showing that Covid-19 is airborne as well as research into the impact of long Covid-19.
“The research thus far, including on cryptic lineages and wastewater studies, strongly suggests we should be looking at viral persistence as the deep cause of Long Covid,” said Buterin on Twitter.
Crypto Relief is a nonprofit organization that focuses on delivering relief during the Covid crisis in India. The organization has around $293 million worth of crypto holdings in its wallet and $20 million in its bank account, according to its website.
Buterin isn’t the only crypto billionaire to pledge funds for Covid-19 and pandemic preparedness solutions. Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of collapsed crypto exchange FTX, poured millions into pandemic preparedness. His brother Gabe Bankman-Fried founded Guarding Against Pandemics.