Before the 2017 rally, growth hacker Giacomo Arcaro would often fall asleep in his car. He is now an entrepreneur who speaks at conferences and crypto forums and is looking for ways to stimulate adoption and help those who are struggling financially as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Last weekend, Arkaro prepared for loans of up to $ 50,000 in the form of cryptocurrencies (ETH) to homeless and uninhabited people in New York. After talking to some of the city’s approximately 80,000 homeless people about another issue – while giving up bitcoin (BTC) – he said many, not surprisingly, that they demanded money for basic necessities such as blankets or food. However, some allegedly wanted money to buy telecommuting equipment, such as microphones.
On March 20, a growth hacker placed posters on Wall Street with crypto expert Eloise Marchesoni and heard commercial offers from non-residents, many of whom cannot apply for loans through traditional banks. Arcaro has approved 12.5 ETH – almost $ 22,000 at the time of publication – in loans, with an average of 0.5 ETH per person.
“Some of the interesting ideas we saw with Eloise and her financier were about recycling, investing in equipment for collecting cans and bottles,” said Arcaro. One of the women used ETH to buy a garbage can and a professional pram to transport cans and bottles to a nearby store, where she dumped them each time. To get some money in return. ”
Image courtesy of Giacomo Arcaro
After approving the cryptocurrency loan, growth hackers sent ETH directly to the recipients’ Coinbase smartphone wallets on the condition that if they pay back in the future, they will double the loan and continue the relationship. If they paid the money right away, it would not help them anymore.
“They had a hard time accepting the idea of downloading Coinbase Wallet to their phones and handling intangible money. It was very difficult to talk to them about the air waves. ”
While Arcaro admits that this is not the typical way many people try to help the homeless in the United States – often done by donating to non-profit organizations, giving them money on the street or through online fundraising – his approach is said to be adopted. About the work of Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. The Bangladeshi social entrepreneur was a pioneer in microcredit in the 1970s and 1980s, providing small loans to many people without bank accounts in poor communities.
“If these people are smart, they can make all kinds of small investments,” Arkaro said. “If they keep the money in their wallet and subscribe to it, they can earn $ 2 or $ 3 a day – that’s a lot for a homeless person.”
Although difficult to count accurately, some estimates indicate that more than 150 million people worldwide lack adequate homes or shelter. By early 2020, there were over 580,000 homeless people in the United States, many in New York and Los Angeles. However, given the economic impact of the epidemic, this number is likely to have increased significantly.
“I can assume that there are a lot of really smart people who have problems with COVID while on the streets,” Arcaro said. “They do not have access to [credit], they cannot open a bank account, and they cannot apply for a mortgage.”
Arkaro’s methods require that all homeless or homeless people applying for a cryptocurrency loan have a smartphone that can support a Coinbase wallet. While he said that “every homeless person” he met has access to the Internet, that is not always the case outside a major city like New York. A study from 2018 found that the majority of homeless people in the US have access to mobile phones, while a separate report from the City Bar Justice Center mentions smartphones and internet access as major contributors to reducing periods of homelessness.
“If you do not like cryptocurrency, this is not for you, but [it is] for a new type of homeless person. Startups are homeless or people who want to get out of poverty. […] But they were lucky. ”
Arcaro climbed Wall Street and said he would be back in a month to check on borrowers for 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.