Chile’s First Bitcoin Exchange Sets Up Donation Program For Earthquake & Tsunami Relief

Chile’s government has declared a state of emergency in a coastal town of Coquimbo where 15 foot waves came ashore in the wake of a massive earthquake that has left ten dead in the Latin American nation. Tsunami waves made landfall north and south of the quake’s epicenter along Chile’s long coastline, with tsunami warnings for the US west coast. 

The earthquake represents the largest quake in the world this year, its duration more than three minutes. Dozens of aftershocks followed. The initial quake could be felt in Brazil and Argentina:

8.3 magnitude earthquake in Chile made waves in this swiming pool in Argentina. Quake could be felt in Brazil as well. Courtesy @vickivillalobos #chileearthquake #tsunami

A video posted by Lee Goldberg (@leegoldbergabc7) on Sep 17, 2015 at 4:38pm PDT


Damage along the coastline:

Residentes pasan cerca de un barco de pesca que llegó a tierra después del terremoto en el puerto de Coquimbo (Chile). Foto D1: Martin Bernetti / AFP #earthquake #ship #coquimbo #chile #chileearthquake #emergency #port #coquimboport #terremoto #terremotoenchile #emergencia #sismo #puerto #puertocoquimbo #barco

A photo posted by (@diario1com) on Sep 17, 2015 at 6:35pm PDT


Chile’s first Bitcoin exchange, SurBTC, wants to help in the aftermath of the 8.3 earthquake, which is stronger than the recent Nepal and Haiti earthquakes.

“The damage in many fishing villages is devastating. The waves destroyed buildings, including recently rebuilt ones, as not long ago the same part of Chile was struck by another natural disaster,” Guillermo Torrealba, SurBTC CEO, tells CCN. As Chile’s first Bitcoin exchange, SurBTC, has looked into ways to alleviate the situation in the country.

“At SurBTC we have the resources to convert to pesos the bitcoins people donate, so that’s what we’re doing,” he says. “We’ve opened an exclusive account for this matter, where every bitcoin will be traded for pesos, and of course, everything, both transactionally and operationally, will be completely free.”  Not only is it a way to help Chile, but it could also help Bitcoin, according to Torrealba.

“We think that this is an excellent way to show the world what Bitcoin can do,” Torrealba says. “This is the type of situation where Bitcoin can flourish.” Ultimately, Bitcoin brings people together – those in need and those with the means to help – quicker than ever.

Chilean people need economic help, and now anybody, from anywhere in the world, with or without access to credit card, can help with as little as $1 USD


Un hombre cruza una calle al lado de una casa destruida tras el terremoto en Illapel, a unos 200 kilómetros al norte de Santiago (Chile). Un fuerte terremoto 8,3 grados de magnitud sacudió Chile, matando a ocho personas, y obligando la evacuación de un millón. Foto D1: Martin Bernetti / AFP #earthquake #destroyed #destruction #quake #illapel #santiago #chileearthquake #chile #terremoto #terremotoenchile #sismo #destrucción

A photo posted by (@diario1com) on Sep 17, 2015 at 6:28pm PDT


SurBTC has strived to be fully compliant and pursued strong banking relations. The Bitcoin exchange received money from the Chilean government as part of a government startup initiative. The company launched its exchange in March.

The company will merely collect funds. All bitcoins received will be converted to Chilean Peso. All money will then be given to Chile Ayuda

Here is the company’s blog post on the effort.

Featured image of Chile’s Earthquake in 2010 from Shutterstock.