A new nonprofit organization wants to protect the citizens of Belarus. The BYSOL organization focuses on people who’ve suffered during protests against the Lukashenko regime.
Mass demonstrations mainly directed against the policies and presidency of Alexander Lukashenko have been going on for almost a month now. The presidential election on August 9, which internationally people assumed was manipulated, triggered the protests. The regime reacted to those protests in the country with mass arrests, police violence, internet blackout, and a call for help from Vladimir Putin. Despite numerous arrests and violence in prisons, people continue to gather in protests.
Besides citizens, the authorities also exert control over businesses. Losing a job on political ground can mean zero chances to find another job. As a counterreaction, a group of tech businesses and public activists founded the nonprofit organization BYSOL.
BYSOL as a means of support
BYSOL supports every person who has been oppressed, prosecuted, or lost their job due to participation in strikes or protests in Belarus. The organization also helps law enforcement agencies and state officials that lose their job because of political reasons. Support funds are paid out in bitcoin. The organization chose bitcoin to transfer funds because other routes are under total government control. The regime closely monitors bank transfers and can freeze funds related to protest activities.
BYSOL says it raises most of its funds through donations via Facebook, with some of the money also coming through PayPal, transfers to a Revolut bank account, as well as bitcoin and Ethereum wallets. More than $2 million has been raised, including contributions from the founders and donations from individual supporters and companies.
This is how it works
First of all, the persons who wants to receive support must send an application to BYSOL. This application should then explain how they lost their job. The loss of a job must be confirmed with documents, such as a notice of termination. If the support application was submitted correctly, BYSOL will send instructions on installing and using a wallet. It is a straightforward process that allows oppressed citizens to receive financial aid.
This example in Belarus shows how decentralized, censorship-resistant cryptocurrencies can be used as a means of payment in states with repressive conditions.