2018 had a vicious sting in the tail for most people building decentralised networks and tools. However, it also had a great many lessons to teach, chief among them that hope never really dies. Much like the blind fish in Moya Cannon's masterpiece, sometimes it slips beneath the hills and leaves wanderers asking why the hollow lands hum when the wind howls a certain way.
We sang in South Africa, and the amazing community that has gathered around Ethereum heard us. In total, at the very bottom of a bear market, we still raised R113,135 (over 48 ETH). Considering that school fees at African Angels are just R4800 per year, this translates to covering the fees for nearly 24 of the 142 children starting school in 2019.
We got 9 people down to one of the most rural parts of the country and helped build a new high school class with the children who will be studying in it this year. That is the reality these talented kids face: they literally have to build their own classroom each year if they want to continue studying at African Angels. Every single message that came through using Ethereum as a medium carries value in many more ways than the merely monetary for such committed learners.
We also tokenised some of the children's artwork (a series of self-portraits made using different media) and managed to raise a further 2.5 ETH for that - a world first as far as we can tell.
We cannot thank enough both organisations like 0x, MetaMask, ChainSafe, Bounties Network, BlockGeeks, MakerDAO, SuperRare and Zinc Work, as well as truly amazing individuals like Mariano Conti, Simona Pop, Gabrielle Micheletti, Ola Kohut, Richard Brown, Dan Finlay, Robbie Bent, Alex Howell, Rob Culliton, Hester Bruikman, Chris Broekman, Mohammed Bulbulia, John Crain, Milton Nkwenteni, Sethu Jikwa, Lou Billett and the many others who made it all possible and worked throughout December to make Merry Merkle once more a marvellous thing.
Lou, the headmistress, wrote:
Dear Merry Merkle,
I wanted to send a huge, enormous thank you from the Angels and myself for the fantastic amount of crypto you raised with Merry Merkle. It landed in our account today - over R100,000!!! Thank you so much for coming and working! You are all fabulous and marvellous and this is really huge for us. Thank you so much, one and all.
As always, everything is open source and as transparent as we can make it. The code we used for donations and the leaderboard can be found here and here. It was built in such a way that it is easily reusable - so whomever runs #MerryMerkle 2019 can just clone it and get going. The spreadsheet we used to calculate exchange rates each day can be found here.
And, to make extra sure, you can see the Proof of Payment into African Angel's bank account below:
We wish you all an incredibly happy and successful 2019, wherever you are in the world. Please reach out to @cryptowanderer or @robbiebent1 on Twitter if you have an awesome and deserving group of people we can help with #MerryMerkle 2019 and let's keep this most human of our community traditions alive! And, seeing as you made it this far, here is one more small gift for the righteous few.