Ethereum Founder Vitalik Buterin Donates $4M to Kirby Uni

By May 14, 2022Ethereum
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Ethereum Founder Vitalik Buterin Donates $4M to Kirby Uni

The main founder of cryptocurrency Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin has donated USD Coin (USDC) worth $4 million to the Kirby University at University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney to help build a tool which would warn of future pandemics.

The donation of $4 million worth of USDC to the UNSW to support the development of a pandemic detection tool named EPIWATCH, is equivalent to around $5.3 million Aussie dollars. The donation is part of, as described by Buterin the “moonshot anti-COVID effort” named Balvi Filantropic Fund.

Buterin said, “The earlier we can detect new epidemics as they come, the more quickly we can start developing treatments or even stop them before they become large.”

“Open analysis of public data is an excellent alternative to more intrusive forms of monitoring, which are also often only available to governments and other high bidders but closed to the public. By contrast, an open source and open access approach that allows researchers, including members of the public, to work collaboratively across the world can be more easily improved and scaled to detect new pandemics wherever they begin,” he added.

The fund is in partnership with the famous meme Shiba Inu project (SHIB) and Crypto Relief. These funds will support the further development of EPIWATCH which is an open-source intelligence (OSINT) tool created by UNSW Kirby Institute’s Professor Raina MacIntyre in order to provide pandemic early warning signals.

“Imagine if someone had detected COVID-19 before it spread around the world – that is our vision. Using AI and real-time open-source data, EPIWATCH does not depend on people making reports. It is a great equalizer and can overcome weak health systems and censorship,” said Prof. MacIntyre.

EPIWATCH’s development was started in 2016 and has been carried out by extensive research and testing. EPIWATCH tackles open-source data and uses artificial intelligence to create early alerts in order to prevent future pandemics.

It operates by scanning millions of items of publicly accessible online data, like social media and news reports, for early signs of epidemics. EPIWATCH uses a wide quantity of data in real time, determining changes to what is considered ‘normal’ reports about health concerns.

EPIWATCH has proven to be much faster than waiting for a formal report through doctors or laboratories. It does not take the place of formal reporting, but rather allows earlier alerts of epidemics that should be formally investigated by health authorities.

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