Pennsylvania pharmacist Kenneth Kim has always “wanted to do something with crypto” that could “make the world a better place.”

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In 2019, he founded the non-profit organization known today as Crypto for the Homeless (CFTHL), registered in New Jersey, which has fed more than 5,000 homeless people around the world using digital currencies.

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“I always had the desire to be involved in some kind of crypto project… if it made the world a better place, that would be the best possible scenario,” Kim told Cryptooshala.

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When he was a pharmacy student at Temple University in Philadelphia between 2018 and 2021, Kim would pass many homeless people just on his way between campus and his home.

Around the same time, the new movie Blade Runner 2049 was released, depicting a dystopian future in which people improve with technology, but the gap between rich and poor is as wide as ever.

Instead of asking for money, the homeless asked for digital loans.

“I think the movie is trying to show that we are so far in the future that even the homeless have completely embraced this new way of using currency.”

How Cryptocurrency Fits into the Picture

It was then that Kim had the idea to use cryptocurrency to collect and distribute funds to help those in need.

“Basically, after that, I thought, what if I can use this to raise funds for the homeless more effectively, and maybe I can go and feed them?”

On April 28, 2019, Kim delivered the first four meals to the homeless in Philadelphia. Three years later, the organization celebrated its third anniversary by feeding thousands of people around the world with cryptocurrency donations and a tireless network of volunteers.

Source: Crypto for the Homeless

Kim said that one of the main reasons he decided to use cryptocurrency was its decentralized nature. Funds cannot be frozen or blocked by the authorities.

“The main reason I actually started a cryptocurrency project is because I had a very bad experience with PayPal.”

The pharmacist said there have been multiple instances of PayPal closing or freezing accounts for various reasons.

“I did not like the idea that there is a central authority that can do this at any moment. […] So I thought if I’m using crypto, it’s literally impossible. I have complete control over it.”

A secondary reason is that it greatly reduces the barrier to reimbursing his volunteers internationally, Kim said.

The CFTHL model works by reimbursing volunteers who buy hot meals and deliver them to the homeless in their area. Volunteers provided proof of food purchases and photographs of homeless people receiving food. After the action was authenticated, Kim’s organization reimbursed the volunteers with the cryptocurrency of their choice.

“We had a fairly significant number of volunteers abroad and since we use cryptocurrency, I could just not worry about any wiring fees or anything like that.”

Human aspect

In a statement on the CFTHL’s three-year anniversary, Kim said his organization “never set itself the goal of solving the problem of homelessness” but rather reintroducing the human aspect of philanthropy – something that “most other projects have sorely lacked.”

CFTHL volunteers must track down the homeless and personally deliver food to them in order to receive compensation.

“[It’s about] physically [being] food is handed out there as if wherever they were, especially if it’s in the middle of a highway or like under a bridge in their tent.”

“There is one thing that has bothered me about many charities,” Kim told Cryptooshala.

“It seemed to me that many of them were very cold, you know, they lacked the human aspect. If I donate to a charity canteen or the Red Cross, I won’t see the effect of it. I don’t think they post on social media or post photos or anything like that, you know, so I’m not even sure what’s going on with the money.”

CFTHL tracks every donation the organization receives from the start and provides a public ledger to see how the funds are being spent.

Crypto for the Homeless is still a relatively small organization with only two full-time employees and about 10-20 volunteers. Since its inception, his organization has raised about $75,000 in donations.

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Kim leads the organization while serving as a staff pharmacist for CVS Pharmacy in Pennsylvania. The founder hopes to recruit 3-5 more volunteers over the next few years and expand to more countries.

To date, his organization has fed the homeless in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Thailand, India and many other countries.