The US affiliate of the Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange FTX has established its headquarters in Chicago and plans to implement a programme aimed at assisting the city’s underbanked communities.
President of FTX Brett Harrison said that some of the top exchanges, trading platforms, hedge funds, fintechs, and VC firms are located in Chicago, making it an attractive, though competitive, recruitment location.
The firm intends to provide Austin, Englewood, and West Garfield Park residents with financial assistance and economic mobility.
100 Chicagoans will get $500 per month in supplementary income, a no-fee bank account, and a Visa debit card thanks to a partnership between FTX and the non-profit Equity and Transformation (EAT) in a one-year programme.
FTX launches a program to help Chicago’s underbanked communities. Image: CoinCulture
This move comes after FTX closed a $400 million Series A round in January, valuing the firm at over $8 billion.
The effort is a continuation of the Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot, a $31.5 million investment by the city to fight persistent poverty.
According to Samir Mayekar, Chicago’s deputy mayor for economic and community development, the programme gives 5,000 Chicagoans $500 each month for one year, making it the biggest municipal financial aid programme in the United States.
Mayekar said that to be concentrating on making their goods and services available to people in need in Chicago is a really creative approach to highlight the unique advantages of blockchain technology in a manner that can make a difference in communities.
A research study will be conducted by an academic partner to examine the impact of the monthly $500 payments and financial inclusion services on residents’ economic mobility and financial stability.
Before the end of the year, FTX and the city may launch a new initiative aimed at assisting Chicago households receiving international remittances.
Mayekar said that Chicago is a “immigrant-friendly” city in which many citizens transfer money to family in other countries. He said that such transactions may incur costs of 20% or more.
Considering a remittance pilot and using the strength of the FTX platform to have almost no-fee cash transfers across borders while simultaneously being able to hedge against fluctuating currencies may be tremendously effective.