Cryptocurrency charity event raises $70K for Toronto's homeless youth
Event believed to be 1st of its kind in Canada
It's that time of the year when Christmas trees light up the night sky and bring holiday cheer but this year Toronto's cryptocurrency users gathered around a different kind of tree to get into the holiday spirit: a Merkle tree.
"What if we had a Christmas Tree that lit up based on events happening on the ethereum blockchain? It's the first hardware Christmas tree that was connected to the blockchain."
Since Thursday's event at Assembly Chef's Hall, near Richmond Street W. and University Avenue, cryptocurrency users raised over $70,000 for Covenant House Toronto, a charity focused on helping at-risk, homeless and trafficked youth.
The Merkle tree that's the focal point of the event is something that's commonplace in cryptology and computer science, including cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether. It helps manage and organize data, but now for Christmas it's helping raise funds for some of the city's most vulnerable.
Most of the money raised for Merry Merkle Tree was through ether, but donations were also accepted through regular old cash, too. However, Bent says cash donations only totalled around $3,000.
'A real community'
Organizers believe the money collected to date will provide about 100 young people with food for three months, but after quickly blowing past their initial goal, they've set their sights even higher and are hoping to raise $200,000 or enough for a year of food for the shelter.
"The event was a blast and everybody was really happy with the turnout, including Covenant House who I think was shocked by one, the ability to put on an event for free in three days, and then two, the ability to triple the goal," Bent said.
"We're very grateful to the blockchain community and excited about this new opportunity to raise funds for our agency through cryptocurrency," Bruce Rivers, executive director of Covenant House Toronto, said in a press release.
Organizers are continuing to ask the community to step up and support the cause throughout the holidays.
"There's a real community here. You have 3,000 people who are super obsessed with this new technology and the way it's going to change the world, and I think those are the type of people who are really willing to give back," Bent added. "I think people who have done very well are looking for authentic ways to give back, and Covenant House is one of those authentic ways."
The fundraiser is expected to continue on for at least another two weeks.