BTC enthusiasts pledge tokens to Tonga after eruption

By Raffaele Redi

Bitcoin wallet set up in response to idea of collecting funds for South Pacific kingdom

The Flag of Tonga, which features a red cross in a small white rectangle on a red background                                 
A bitcoin wallet has been set up to collect funds to help the South Pacific nation, Tonga – Photo: Shutterstock

BTC enthusiasts have started donating tokens to help the people of Tonga after a volcanic eruption sparked a tsunami that has caused devastation among the Pacific kingdom’s islands. 

In response to a tweet suggesting that a BTC wallet is set up to collect funds for the relief efforts, one of Tonga’s ruling nobles, Lord Fusitu’a, responded with the details of where people can make donations. 

Cut off from the world

On Saturday, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted in the South Pacific, just 40 miles north of Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa, pouring ash clouds into the sky and sparking tidal waves around the region.

According to media reports, including one from New Zealand 1News correspondent Barbara Dreaver, the eruption has damaged underwater communication cables to Tonga, leaving it without internet access or international telephone lines.

This prompted Lord Fusitu’a to observe how important cryptocurrency payments might be to Tonga because of the damage to the kingdom’s critical infrastructure. 

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‘Only stream of revenue’

“It’s shown how important it is,” tweeted Lord Fusitu’a. “We are effectively the only stream of revenue of any sort that can get into Tonga now (via @Blockstream bitcoin satellite kit gifted by @Excellion last year) as no internet = no fiat banking or remittances can get in. Only us. Let that sink in.”

Just a few days before the volcanic eruption, Lord Fusitu’a had fuelled speculation that Tonga may be the next nation to consider adopting bitcoin as legal tender. 

After outlining the parliamentary process to adopt bitcoin could begin as early as September, he said: “On activation date, BTC becomes legal tender.”

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