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Major cryptocurrency exchange, FTX Exchange, has kick-started an initiative to provide support to financially disadvantaged individuals and households in Chicago. The exchange revealed its supportive plans during its grand opening of a new headquarters in the populous city of Chicago.
FTX Expansion to the US
The Bahamas-based FTX Exchange recently founded a subsidiary in the United States, dubbed FTX.US. The initiative was officially announced at the inauguration of the exchange’s headquarters in Fulton, Chicago. While it is commendable enough FTX is quite intent on expanding to the American audience, its simultaneous launch of an income pilot program is even more interesting. According to the company’s release, the exchange’s new income initiative will be open to 100 Chicago residents at first.
In recent times, Chicago has firmly established itself as a hub for the digital asset economy. Coupled with its reputation as the third-most populous city in US, its rising tech resume makes it an ideal location for the FTX.US headquarters.
Crypto to Ease Financial Burden
FTX.US President Brett Harrison says the objective of the initiative is to ease the financial distress of individuals and households in target areas in the city. Some of these areas include Austin, Englewood, and West Garfield Park.
To effectively execute its goals, FTX.US teamed up with the non-profit organization, Equity and Transformation. Equity and Transformation (EAT for short) focuses primarily on uplifting and leveling the playing field for previously incarcerated black Chicagoans. The initiative will provide benefits that include financial literacy education, a free Visa debit card, and a $500 monthly stipend.
Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, who was present at the inauguration, praised the initiative and lauded its potential.
What this new program initiative has the potential to do is completely transform the lives of residents who are desperate for help,” said Lightfoot.
In addition, the Mayor went on to enthuse about the role cryptocurrencies could play in financial literacy:
Crypto has the ability to advance financial inclusion by reaching and benefiting those who are unbanked, underbanked, or do not use traditional financial services like banks.”
The program is in line with Chicago’s existing poverty alleviation project, known as the Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot. This initiative hopes to assist 5,000 Chicagoans with a no-strings-attached, $500 monthly dividend, for a similar period of one year.
Easing Immigrant Plights
Additionally, FTX.US is looking to further scale the initiative to include support for more groups. The exchange intends to create a system to help support Chicago residents who render financial assistance to relatives outside the United States.
For example, a staggering 1.7 million immigrants reside in Chicago, representing 18 percent of the city’s population. Many of these residents provide financial support for their families in other countries, despite high international transaction fees.
FTX is working to implement a program that will feature zero international transaction fees and could launch before the end of 2022.
Founded in 2019, the exchange has long had philanthropic inclinations. Fueled by altruistic goals, in February 2022, the crypto exchange launched the FTX Foundation. The FTX Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable affiliate of the exchange, and has pledged to donate over 100 million USD to individuals in need.