Christian Maloba needed a job. It was February 2021, and he was a 30-year-old student in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Maloba was taking online classes at BYU Idaho and had some time to spare, so he created a profile on the freelance platform Upwork, offering translation services. He wasn’t having much luck until a strange message popped into his inbox from someone named Joe Waltman.
“The nature of the project is likely quite different from what you normally do on Upwork,” Waltman’s message read. “But, if it appeals to you, it could be very rewarding and may allow you to help people in your community.”
Waltman led an organization called GiveCrypto. He explained the outfit was looking for “ambassadors,” and he’d reached out because Maloba lived in a country that scored low on the economic freedom index—a ranking put together by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
Maloba’s job would be to find people in need who lived near enough he could visit them regularly. He would have to set them up with crypto wallets and figure out a way for them to convert donations in the cryptocurrency Ether to the Congolese franc. After each recipient received around $100 from GiveCrypto, Maloba would have to document how they spent the money. GiveCrypto would pay him $30.