UPDATE (27th August 20:20 BST): This article has been updated with comment from Sync lead developer Iyad Elkfarna, who also provided a birth certificate confirming residency in Gaza.
Iyad Elkfarna has been involved in the development of numerous coin projects and currently serves as lead developer for the alternative digital currency project Sync. His most recent work for that project was the last edition of their wallet client. Elkfarna is also an active freelancer with a top rating on outsourcing website Freelancer.com.
According to Mike Fiol of the Sync Foundation, the goal of the initiative is to raise 15 BTC in orer to help Elkfarna and his family evacuate from their home in Gaza. He said that the situation is an opportunity for investors, traders and others to help a fellow community member in his time of need. The wallet address can be found here.
Fiol told CoinDesk:
“Crypto needs to step up and save one of its own. I have no doubt people have made tons of money off all the coins [Elkfarna] worked on.”
He added that Elkfarna did not request any assistance for either himself or his family. Rather, the effort grew out of what Fiol called “the horrors” observed amid the war between Hamas and the Israeli government.
In a statement provided to CoinDesk, Elkfarna said that the situation is dire in Gaza and that his family has few options, given that their home has been caught up in the ongoing conflict, explaining:
“I was running a small online business and is nothing to do with any of the madness and killing that is going on at the moment. Now my house and all of my possessions have been destroyed in a recent random airstrike. This includes my computer and equipment that I use to make a living and provide for my family.”
Fighting between the two sides has intensified in recent weeks, resulting in hundreds of civilian and military casualties and a mixture of support and protest from nations and governments worldwide. On 26th August, both Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire brokered by Egypt, as reported by The New York Times.
Social support for charity initiative
The effort began on Twitter, where one user explained it as a way to give back to a developer who has contributed to the community in numerous ways.
Im starting a drive to save one of our own. $Sync Lead Dev is stuck in Gaza, terrified for his and his family. He needs to get out…1/
— Gw3 (@smokin35) August 26, 2014
Members of the alt community on later voiced their support and have begun donating bitcoin to the cause.
The drive reflects the growing role of social media to highlight situations in troubled regions, and represents a first for the crypto community. At press time, the initiative had raised more than 3.5 BTC. CoinDesk will provide updates as the situation develops.