Charities Put A Purpose Behind Bitcoin
Help us celebrate the chance to impact global philanthropy buy donating Bitcoin and crypto-currencies. Don’t just Hodl bitcoin this year, donate it. Charities Put A Purpose Behind Bitcoin
You’re now able to choose BitGive as a nonprofit to support through Facebook for your birthday! Help us celebrate the chance to impact global philanthropy with blockchain technology.
Here’s How To Set It Up:
On the left hand column of your Facebook, click “Fundraisers”.
Choose “Select Nonprofit”.
Search for “BitGive”.
Fill out the details and hit “Create!”
This month we are committed to continuing to help the most vulnerable and at-risk communities worldwide. We have incredible NGO partners who are helping directly impacted families near and far during the global COVID-19 pandemic. You can donate to our COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, Save the Children Mexico, or The Wild Tomorrow Fund today. Learn about their efforts and make a difference by giving.
BitGive is Featured in CryptoSlate Article
Did you know that GiveTrack currently accepts over 60 forms of crypto and fiat (regular) currencies? CryptoSlate recently wrote an article highlighting our NGO partnerships and discussing all the ways you can give! We also chatted about our COVID-19 Relief campaigns. Read more on how NGOs are dipping their toes into crypto-philanthropy in CryptoSlate’s feature on BitGive!
We are so grateful to have worked with so many amazing nonprofit partners over the past 7 years! If you need a smile today, you’re definitely going to want to watch our newest NGO playlist on YouTube, which features videos from all of the amazing teams we’ve worked with. Give it a view!
You can also give through BitGive, one of the oldest crypto-specific non-profits in the field.
Founded in 2013, BitGive uses bitcoin’s blockchain and works with smart contract provider RSK. Its GiveTrack project follows donated money, showing who it benefits. The charity collects less than one percent in fees, according to its website.
“It’s a way to be transparent,” said BitGive founder Connie Gallipi in a phone interview. “It says this project was created on this day in this time, this NGO was added on this day in this time and we checked the bitcoin rate on this day at this time,” she said.
BitGive currently sponsors personally vetted NGOs across the globe, including three projects in Venezuela focusing on orphanages, hospitals, and abandoned animals.
Charities are leaning into the blockchain space this year with #BitcoinTuesday, a sideways take on the philanthropy movement following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cybermonday (Dec 3).
Drawing inspiration from one crypto’s more heartwarming stories, the Pineapple Fund – wherein a pseudonymous bitcoiner donated some $55 million towards 60 charities during the 2017 bull market – options for crypto-based donations abound.
“The fact that there were talking about an open-source distributed, user-created project that doesn’t have central ownership seems like a perfect product market matc†h,” said Woodrow Rosenbaum, GivingTuesday’s Data & Insights Lead in a phone.
Launched in 2012 by 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, GivingTuesday received early attention from Mashable, Facebook and Microsoft and raised some $400 million in the U.S. last year, according to the GivingTuesday foundation.
The Giving Block
The Giving Block, a for profit firm founded in 2018, is spearheading this year’s rendition of crypto Giving Tuesday with #BitcoinTuesday.
Rounding up support from Gemini and Brave Browser, among others, the technology company is orchestrating aid for nonprofits such as No Kid Hungry, the Tor Project and Pencils of Promise.
The D.C.-based group is leaning on crypto’s favorable tax status. As with stock donations, donors need pay no capital gains on what they give.
“In times of crisis, to reach those lofty ambitions, we need to be friendly not only to traditional financing mechanisms, but to the crypto community who’s been very innovative,” said Ettore Rossetti, global digital lead of Save the Children in a phone interview.
Founded in 1919, Save the Children has accepted crypto donations since 2013. “We feel like children will win if we can unlock new forms of funding,” he said.
CryptoGivingTuesday, a community coalition spun out of the GivingTuesday organization, is another destination for donations.
Through its service, donations can be made in multiple cryptos to NGOs and non-profits including bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), litecoin (LTC), dash (DASH), the lightning network, binance coin (BNB), bitcoin cash (BCH) and XRP.
GivingTuesday takes a decentralized approach to its campaigns. Communities often adopt GivingTuesday’s branding to promote a campaign in their niche, Rosenbaum said.
“Some of these big payment processor platforms like Facebook and PayPal use GivingTuesday as a great way for them to engage [with their audience],” he said. “So we’ll give people best practices. We want to hear how their campaigns went, learn about their results and bring them into that network.”
Twitter’s Jack Dorsey Urges Bitcoin Donations To Fight Police Brutality In Nigeria
The CEO of Twitter and Square has urged Bitcoiners to join the fight to end the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Nigeria.
The CEO of Twitter and Square, Jack Dorsey, has urged his followers to donate Bitcoin to the #endSARS cause, which aims to end police brutality in Nigeria.
The crypto donation site he linked to is run by a group of Nigerian feminists fighting against the police’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) through protests, fundraising, and social media.
A series of demonstrations began in Nigeria on October 4 with thousands taking to the streets to protest against police brutality in Nigeria and call for the disbanding of SARS, with the #endSARS hashtag trending.
Various crypto startups like BuyCoins and Busha have also donated to the cause.
Ray Youssef, CEO of Peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace Paxful, which is popular across Africa, also embraced the #endSARS hashtag, accusing police of unfairly targeting young people for using cryptocurrency. He said the situation was a “real crisis of human rights happening now!”
Jack Dorsey has been a longstanding Bitcoin supporter. In the past, he has said Bitcoin is “probably the best” native currency of the internet due it being “consensus-driven” and “built by everyone.”
Dorsey’s payments company Square Inc, has set up a new open source non-profit organization to hold crypto patents. In the past week Square joined MicroStrategy as a major publicly listed company with Bitcoin on its books, after purchasing $50 million worth of BTC. The news made headlines including in mainstream newspapers around the world like The Scotsman, which said the move had “caused ripples throughout the whole of corporate America.”
Robinhood-esque hackers who stole from corporations to give to charities have seen their donations rebuked. Members of the hacking group Darkside attempted to give bitcoin donations to two non-profits, Children International and The Water Project. The group used ransomware to steal from profitable companies with the intention of giving “some of the money” to charity, according to a BBC report citing a darknet blog. To make the donations, the cybercriminals used the service offered by The Giving Block, a U.S.-based project that converts donations into dollars for charities not set up to handle cryptocurrencies. “If the donation is linked to a hacker, we have no intention of keeping it,” Children International said.
US Bail Funds Are Seeing An Uptick In Cryptocurrency Donations
For many people arrested, especially low-income citizens, bail funds are their best hope for freedom while they await trial. Now, some of those funds are accepting cryptocurrency donations.
Facilitated by crypto payment processor The Giving Block, the Bail Project, the Chicago Community Bond Fund and the Nashville Community Bail Fund, for example, accept cryptocurrency including bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH) and even basic attention token (BAT).
They’ve taken in thousands of dollars in crypto donations since the summer, according to The Giving Block, which could be a sign of larger adoption in the space of bail funds.
This summer saw a rise in civil action against police violence in the U.S., with thousands of protestors taking to the streets over the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Numerous protestors were arrested. Around this time, Alex Wilson, co-founder of The Giving Block, started hearing from bail funds that were interested in using The Giving Block to process cryptocurrency payments.
According to the director of the Community Justice Exchange, Pilar Weiss, not many of the organization’s member bail funds accept crypto. She said that is based on the grassroots nature of many crowdfunding actions for bail funds.
While a handful of their member funds accept crypto, including the Richmond Bail Fund, if they do it’s usually because they have some back-end administrative capacity to accept.
Weiss said she could see that change, however, as fundraising platforms like PayPal, for example, move into accepting cryptocurrency donations.
“The traditional kind of nonprofit donor, which some nonprofits rely on, are on the older side, in their fifties and sixties, and often even retired,” said Wilson. “Sometimes [nonprofits] have a hard time connecting with younger donors.
So they see this as one of those ways of doing that. It also helps them look a little bit more innovative when they’re starting to play with stuff like crypto and not just taking checks in the mail.”
Bail And Bail Funds
When someone is arrested, a judge sets bail and the detainee must either pay that amount or stay in jail until the trial. But not everyone has access to ready cash and the system disproportionately impacts low-income citizens in both the short and long term.
According to research from the Bail Project, a single night in prison can have cascading effects such as the loss of a job, a home and even custody of children.
Waiting in jail prior to trial also impacts a detainee’s likelihood of going to prison, according to a regularly updated report on cash bail from the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy institute.
The report found that “those who are held pretrial are four times more likely to be sentenced to prison than defendants released prior to trial. Pretrial detainees are also likely to make hurried decisions to plead guilty to a lower charge to spend less time behind bars rather than changing a higher charge and longer sentence at trial.”
Bail funds are essentially large, crowdsourced funds that are then used to bail people out of jail as they await their trials.
Organizations like the Bail Project, the Chicago Community Bond Fund and the Nashville Community Bail Fund are working to pay bail for those who can’t afford it in such situations.
Co-director of the Nashville Community Community Bail Fund Jessica Lamb says the fund was founded in 2016 to free low-income Nashvillians from jail, and work to end what the fund calls “wealth-based detention.”
“Our vision is a society where money does not determine any person’s access to freedom,” said Lamb in an email. “Since our inception, we have freed nearly 1,500 Nashvillians from jail. We also work with community partners to disrupt the criminal legal system and work toward money bail policy reform.”
Bail Funds, Civil Rights And The 2020 US Election
Bail has a cascading effect on things from civil rights to elections. If people know they’re unlikely to be able to risk arrest because they can’t afford bail, they will be less inclined to take to the streets against injustice. That threat of arrest and staying in jail is a coercive measure that, in effect, curbs protestors’ right to free speech and assembly.
Bail also has downstream consequences for elections. Given that being unable to afford bail affects whether they will plead guilty as well as how long they’re held, it can curb people’s ability to vote. Besides being unable to vote, If someone is held in detention and pleads guilty to something on the level of a felony, that voting ability can be curtailed for years.
Why Crypto Matters
Wilson said there are a number of benefits for bail funds taking cryptocurrency donations.
One is it helps them offset economic loss, given the economic uncertainty of the times, by diversifying their revenue and donation streams. Another aspect he has noticed in his work is that cryptocurrencies tend to appeal to a younger demographic, and they’re likely to be completely new donors.
The important ability of international donors to contribute easily through crypto is specifically something Wilson was hearing from groups that were part of The Giving Block’s Crypto for Black Lives campaign, which was kicked off this summer to raise money for civil rights organizations, including bail funds. While that wasn’t the reason The Giving Block became interested in crypto, it’s become an important component.
The final reason is simple: taxes. When you realize a capital gain (price increase) on a cryptocurrency and trade or cash it out, that’s a taxable event. But bitcoin or other cryptocurrency donations to a nonprofit are treated like donations of stock.
As such they are not considered taxable events, meaning you don’t pay those capital gains taxes when you donate and you can deduct them on your tax return.
The Bail Project’s Chief Financial Officer Zach Herz-Roiphe said he’d encourage any nonprofit to cast as wide a net as possible for donors. Thus far, bitcoin specifically and crypto in general have historically made up an extremely small portion of total donations over the years, but as crypto becomes more mainstream he expects that to change.
“We expect that more people will embrace crypto as their preferred method of making donations – especially as people understand the tax benefits of giving via crypto, which are similar to those of donating conventional securities,” he said.
Crypto’s Impact On Social Justice
Practically, The Giving Block is serving as a payment processor and enabler for these organizations to expand how they take donations.
“We essentially try to make it as easy as possible for bail funds or other nonprofits to be able to accept crypto and not have to worry about, for example, the volatility of crypto,” said Wilson. “So all these nonprofits have an option to automatically convert the crypto to U.S. dollars.”
Wilson said that while his organization has seen a tailing off of interest from bail funds after the summer, there is still a greater level of interest than there has been. On a high level, according to Wilson, these projects have gotten thousands of dollars, but less than $25,000 each since June in crypto donations.
Lamb said cryptocurrency donations are a small portion of the Nashville Community Bail Fund’s total donations.
“But it’s cool to see donations coming in a new way. One of the best parts about it for us has been learning more about the crypto community, especially the ways it has pitched in to support both the COVID-19 crisis and the movement for Black lives,” said Lamb.
These aren’t the only projects leveraging crypto in the service of supporting efforts for systemic change. Bail Bloc is a project that lets you mine monero (XMR) for bail funds. A few months ago, a group of activists put together a project to document police violence on the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) and the Ethereum blockchain.
“I think the issue of addressing bail will continue to be popular with the crypto community,” said Wilson. “In general I think the cause of ending cash bail is one that really resonates. In the meantime, helping people afford bail is an alternative.”
Gemini Collaborates With The Giving Block And Others, Adds Donations Option
Gemini has made digital asset giving more convenient for its users.
United States crypto exchange Gemini has added a way for customers to donate crypto to over 100 nonprofits worldwide via The Giving Block.
Gemini now gives customers the option to “Give Back With Crypto,” The Giving Block unveiled in a blog post on Thursday.
Available charities range from human rights efforts, to those seeking to provide clean water and beyond.
Some of the charitable groups available, as listed on The Giving Block’s website, include Water Wells for Africa, the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer, Kids in Need of Defense and many more.
“For this feature, any time a user clicks the ‘donate’ buttons on the Gemini mobile app or desktop platform, it will take them to https://www.thegivingblock.com/donate-bitcoin where they can choose to donate to any of the 130+ nonprofits that we work with,” Alex Wilson, co-founder of The Giving Block, told Cointelegraph, adding:
“We’ve been working with Gemini in a variety of ways for over two years but this new feature just publicly launched this week. Gemini has been an awesome partner when it comes to supporting crypto-friendly nonpr.”
In 2018, crypto-natives Alex Wilson and Pat Duffy formed the Giving Block, filling a hole in the crypto industry by easing access avenues for digital asset-based charitable donations, as per the entity’s website.
Digital asset giving has become more commonly-accepted by nonprofit groups over time, according to an interview with Alex Wilson from last fall. Paving the way for crypto donations brings a new demographic to nonprofits. “One cool thing about the crypto donations has been that it’s mostly completely new donors for them, so it’s not cannibalizing any other of their other existing forms of donations,” Wilson said in the interview.
Wilson holds the 85th position on Cointelegraph’s list of the top 100 people in blockchain for 2021.
How Crypto Donations Are Helping Victims Of The Texas Winter Storm
“We intend to accept donations via cryptocurrency essentially forever,” said the Austin Disaster Relief Network’s chief financial officer.
There is a running gag among many Texans that anytime someone drops a cup filled with ice, it’s enough of a reason to cancel school — major winter storms are so rare that authorities don’t often have the means to clear and salt icy streets.
However, what happened last month in the Lone Star State was no joke. Millions of people experienced a week-long storm with sub-zero temperatures, many impassable streets, burst water pipes, and days without power.
In mid-February, The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, had been forced to shut down large areas of the state’s independent power grid, leading to people burning furniture, bundling up with every piece of clothing they owned, or pitching tents in their living rooms to stay warm.
Water was one of the biggest concerns. As temperatures dropped below freezing overnight and stayed there for days, many homes and apartments flooded, completely destroyed by water damage, leading to people displaced in the middle of a storm in which many roads were unsafe and stores unable to provide basic necessities, cut off from supply trucks.
Unfortunately for Texas, the now rising temperatures — it was over 70 degrees Fahrenheit in Austin only one week after the start of the winter nightmare — are hiding the financial difficulties people are facing following the storm. However, crypto could offer some of those affected at least partial relief from the economic fallout.
In the capital of Texas, the Austin Disaster Relief Network, or ADRN, set up crypto donations in response to the storm. The organization now accepts Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Zcash (ZEC), Gemini Dollar (GUSD), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Chainlink (LINK), 0x (ZRX), Storj (STORJ), Dai (DAI) and Amp (AMP) to help uninsured families that were forced to leave damaged homes, or are otherwise suffering financial hardship following the storm.
Since crypto donations went live last Wednesday, the organization has received only one payment in Ether, worth roughly $700. This donation (as well as those made in fiat) have allowed the ADRN to assist more than 1,000 families displaced by the storm due to water damage to their storms. The organization says there may be more than 4,000 households in the Austin area still in need of help, however.
“We intend to accept donations via cryptocurrency essentially forever,” said Michael Gish, ADRN’s chief financial officer.
One of the services the organization provides is giving funds directly to families to use on gas and other essentials in the form of prepaid Visa gift cards. Many Austin residents do not have the option to work from home, and were unable to commute for up to a week while the streets were icy, leading to many lost paychecks.
However, Daniel Geraci, executive director for the ADRN, considered the possibility that sending crypto may be an option for future disaster scenarios like the recent storm, when neither the organization nor those affected can safely travel to deliver funds in person.
Geraci said he had “never thought [of] crypto up to this point,” as the organization seemingly had more pressing concerns. However, he considered the technology to be a means to ”get funds out in a catastrophic disaster fast enough to assist all of our families in need.”
The Giving Block is also doing its part for victims of the Texas winter storm. The donation gateway set up a $100,000 page titled Bitcoin for Texas. When organizations integrate with the Giving Block, they can choose whether they want to keep their donation in crypto, or convert it to fiat. The ADRN has reportedly decided on the latter.
“It’s an uphill battle raising funds when all the cameras are gone,” said Geraci. “We’re preparing for more catastrophic events […] We’re going from a centralized plan to a decentralized plan.”
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