The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is piloting the use of blockchain technology to get digital cash payments to internally displaced people in Ukraine.
The agency is working with the Stellar Development Foundation on the initiative, using the latter's blockchain network for the aid-disbursement tool.
During the pilot, once UNHCR has confirmed the eligibility of an aid recipient it distributes funds to them in the USDC stablecoin. The money goes directly into a digital wallet called Vibrant that the recipient has downloaded to their phone.
This provides a secure place to hold and transport funds in USDC, a stable store of value, allowing people to travel within the country or cross borders without the need to carry cash.
When recipients choose to convert to cash, whether it is dollars, euros, or local currency, they can withdraw their funds at any global MoneyGram location, including over 4500 sites in Ukraine.
The system is being piloted in Kyiv, Lviv, and Vinnytsia and will expand to other towns and cities in Ukraine.