Growth hacker uses crypto to help homeless people
Before the 2017 bull run, growth hacker Giacomo Arcaro often slept in his car. Now an entrepreneur who speaks at crypto conferences and forums, he is looking for ways to promote adoption and help those in financial difficulty due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Last weekend, Arcaro prepared to issue up to $ 50,000 in Ether (ETH) crypto loans to homeless and homeless people in New York. After speaking with some of the roughly 80,000 people of the city’s homeless population on another occasion – and donating Bitcoin (BTC) in the process – he said many were unsurprisingly asking for money for necessities like blankets or food. However, some would have wanted funds to buy equipment for working remotely, for example microphones.
On March 20, the growth hacker set up posters on Wall Street with crypto expert Eloisa Marchesoni and listened to business arguments from homeless people, many of whom are unable to apply for a loan from traditional banks. . Arcaro has approved 12.5 ETH – around $ 22,000 at the time of publication – in loans, with an average of 0.5 ETH for each person.
“Some interesting ideas that Eloisa and I looked at and funded were related to recycling, investing in purchasing equipment to collect cans and bottles,” Arcaro said. “A woman was going to use ETH to then buy a professional garbage collector and a stroller cart to transport the cans and bottles to the nearest store where she will drop them off each time to get money back.”
By approving crypto loans, the growth hacker sent ETH directly to Coinbase wallets on recipients’ smartphones with the stipulation that if they paid it back in the future, it would double the loan and continue the relationship. If they cash in immediately, he wouldn’t help them anymore.
“They did not easily accept the idea of having to download Coinbase Wallet on their phones and having to manage intangible money. It was harder than I thought to tell them about Ether.
Although Arcaro admitted it was not the usual way many try to help the homeless in the United States – which is often done by donating to nonprofits, giving them money directly on the streets, or through online fundraising – his approach would be based on the work of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus. The Bangladeshi social entrepreneur pioneered much of the work around microcredit in the 1970s and 1980s, giving small loans to many unbanked people in poor communities.
“If these guys are smart, they can do all kinds of micro-investments,” Arcaro said. “If they keep that money in their wallet and put it on the line, they can make $ 2-3 a day, which is a lot for a homeless person. “
Although it is difficult to get a true tally, some estimate that there are more than 150 million people without a home or appropriate shelter in the world. At the start of 2020, there were more than 580,000 homeless in the United States, many of them in New York and Los Angeles. However, with the economic impact of the pandemic, this number has likely increase significantly.
“I can assume that there are a lot of really smart people out there who are having trouble with COVID and they are on the streets,” Arcaro said. “They cannot access [credit], they cannot open any bank account, they cannot apply for a mortgage.
Arcaro’s methods require any homeless or homeless person applying for a crypto loan to have a smartphone capable of supporting Coinbase Wallet. Although he said that “every homeless person” he encountered had access to the internet, that may not always be the case outside of a major hub like New York. A 2018 study show that the majority of homeless people in the United States have access to cell phones, while a separate report from the City Bar Justice Center cited smartphones and Internet access as a major factor in shortening periods of homelessness.
“If you are not comfortable with crypto, this is not for you, but [this is for] a “new kind” of homeless. Homeless “startups” or people who want to get out of poverty. […] It’s for people who want to do something with their life but are out of luck.
After the deployment to Wall Street, Arcaro said he would return in about a month to check on loan recipients to resolve any technical or logistical issues. He said he could eventually try the experiment in Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as internationally in Germany, Dubai and Thailand.