Ultimate Resource For Charities And Organizations Accepting Bitcoin And Crypto-Currency Donations
Help us celebrate the chance to impact global philanthropy buy donating Bitcoin and crypto-currencies. Don’t just Hodl bitcoin this year, donate it. Ultimate Resource For Charities And Organizations Accepting Bitcoin And Crypto-Currency Donations
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!”
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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.”
The Downside of Crypto Donations
Nonprofits and their supporters are turning to crypto to avoid taxmen, middlemen and restrictive lawmakers. Unless they do their homework, nonprofits face restrictions of a different kind.
Cryptocurrency donations are providing a much-needed lifeline to hard-up charities right now. In many countries, the coronavirus pandemic has triggered massive government support packages for businesses disrupted by national lockdowns.
Charities have not been so lucky. In the U.K. one in 10 nonprofits face bankruptcy. In the U.S., one in five donors have said they won’t be giving until this is all over.
Innovative, mainly larger charities are tapping into the thousands of new crypto-rich individuals who’ve lately made a mint from bitcoin. Cutting out their usual fundraising middlemen also means donors can be guaranteed the biggest bang for their bitcoin.
The Red Cross, UNICEF and Greenpeace, among others, encourage donors to give using crypto rather than cash and frequently advertise the associated tax benefits. Selling bitcoin and donating the after-tax fiat proceeds usually attracts a capital gains levy. By sending crypto directly to charities this is avoided, plus they receive the full value of the contributions.
Specialist donation platforms are stepping up to connect crypto donors with the growing number of small charities trying to get in on the bitcoin boom. But for many small charities, and those in need, the benefits come with intolerable levels of surveillance and control.
Even so, some charities are facing a simple choice: fundraise for crypto or go under.
The whistle-blower nonprofit WikiLeaks would probably not exist today without cryptocurrency. In 2010, Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Bank of America and others blockaded WikiLeaks from receiving cash transfers. This was in response to the organization’s publication of classified U.S. State Department cables evidencing U.S. war-crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
These actions go to show how money transmitters have no expertize or democratic mandate, yet wield all the power as universal arbiters of morality. Crypto enables charities and businesses to subvert these established power brokers. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has accumulated nearly $1 million worth of crypto since his arrest last April.
As well as disarming the corporations, crypto giving is also challenging government control over good causes. The Tor Project, Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace are often left with frozen bank accounts. The threat of punitive action can change these organizations’ focus.
Frequently, they’re forced to rethink the humanitarian or conservation goals expected by their donors and act instead in the interests of local lawmakers, however corrupt they are. This is not so much the case where crypto is on the table.
The corruption issues don’t end with government lawmakers. With traditional project funding, donors usually just have to trust charities to send the funds to wherever it’s promised. These donors might give money conditionally. They might want their funds to cover aid delivery costs and not just everyday overhead, marketing or for covering the CEO’s massive salary.
Promises are often broken, though, and with frequent scandals trust in charities globally is dropping. Using blockchain technology, some crypto‐giving platforms promise to empower donors with more control, transparency and security in fundraising and aid provision.
But recent research at the U.K.’s Northumbria University, looking at the technical specs of crypto-giving projects, shows how a shift in power relations promotes “surveillance philanthropy.”
It works like this. Your everyday crypto enthusiast is rarely an expert in the complex realities of disaster relief and humanitarian aid projects. But with crypto giving, donors are able to remove flexibility from the experts while exerting maximum control over the charities’ actions. This, the research suggests, is not only impacting the charity’s bottom line but the work it can do.
AidChain, for example, perhaps the starkest example of surveillance philanthropy, has developed the aidcoin token, which it aims to be the preferred global method of charitable giving. Using an Ethereum smart contract, donors can track and manage how funds are spent. AidChain incentivizes charities to pay their service providers in aidcoin in order to improve transparency in the tracking process. So far WWF Italy and several smaller charities have signed up.
Similarly, the Promise crypto‐giving platform empowers donors by validating evidence, provided by any participating charity proving the completion of project milestones, before funds for subsequent phases of a project are released.
It has partnered with eight charities – including one of the U.K.’s largest charitable trusts, English Heritage – in addition to collaborating with Charity Checkout, a platform available to 2,000 registered charities.
“Crypto enables charities and businesses to subvert these established power brokers.”
Promise and AidChain enable donors, who may not be in-the-know about the local realities of those in need, to define what constitutes success and failure for a project. Promise’s white paper states, “[I]f a project falters or fails, the funds not yet released can be returned to you as the donor to be donated to a new project”.
Such interventions raise profound questions concerning whether local people or the donor gets to enact their vision of success, and who gets to regulate development projects and how. Donations, though cost‐effective and tax‐efficient for the donor, become highly conditional and inflexible for nonprofits.
Humanity Token adds a further layer of surveillance to the mix. The platform enables donors to restrict those in need from buying anything the donor doesn’t want them to have. Eligible goods and services include, for example, food, shelter, health care and professional courses.
Cigarettes and alcohol are going to be off-limits to those who have made the poor life choices that caused their “challenging life conditions.” According to the platform developers’ website, to ensure the poor are behaving in the interest of the donor, they are tracked transparently. Behavior information is then analyzed to provide better support for those who need it.
The cryptocurrency and blockchain development industry is growing. As it does, more innovators, creators and crypto-millionaires will emerge with a willingness to improve other people in particular ways.
Larger charities, with the resources to market themselves to the new crypto-rich, will undoubtedly see greater benefits from blockchain technology, compared to smaller, more risk-averse and volunteer-led charities.
But blockchain is problematic. In taking advantage of the enormous opportunities that come from crypto giving, charities need to do their homework, maintain their independence and avoid swapping state-sponsored corporate despots for something far more restrictive.
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.”
The Giving Block Launches ‘Crypto Giving Pledge’ To Ramp Up Crypto Donation Efforts
“Crypto Giving Pledge” is the organization’s most ambitious fundraising initiative yet.
The Giving Block, a leading cryptocurrency donations platform, has launched a new initiative with the stated goal of making crypto the most charitable industry in the world.
The “Crypto Giving Pledge” encourages digital asset investors to pledge at least 1% of their holdings to charities each year and for cryptocurrency companies to contribute 1% of their revenue toward similar causes. Users can join the initiative anonymously and without having to disclose their contributions.
If everyone in crypto donated 1% of their holdings to charities, they could collectively raise $20 billion, based on the current market capitalization of digital assets.
Alex Wilson, co-founder of The Giving Block, said the new initiative “will transform the way the world views cryptocurrency and create the largest influx of charitable giving that the world has ever seen.”
Pat Duffy, the organization’s other co-founder, said the initiative will do three things that “everyone in crypto wants to see happen”:
“One, it will generate a ton of money for amazing causes in critical need of this support. Two, for pledgers in the US in particular, the donations made through this pledge will erase millions of dollars in crypto tax burdens for donors. And third, it will put to bed this idea that crypto is bad, which we believe is the primary barrier slowing the mainstream adoption of crypto.”
“Crypto Giving Pledge” is launching in collaboration with Founder’s Circle, an industry group that will promote the initiative. The Giving Block has already sent open invitations to prominent industry voices like Michael Saylor, Elon Musk, Brain Armstrong, Joseph Lubin, Barry Silbert and others. Although their participation has not been confirmed, other industry leaders have already signed up, and their commitments will soon be reported by Cointelegraph. As a media partner, Cointelegraph will announce the Founder’s Circle members as the campaign proceeds and provide other updates on the initiative as they unfold.
Take The Crypto Giving Pledge Here
The Giving Block has made significant headway in promoting crypto-based donations. In January, the organization joined forces with the American Cancer Society to establish a new Cancer Crypto Fund with the stated goal of raising at least $1 million.
The Giving Block also partnered with Cointelegraph to host the first “Crypto’s Biggest Brain” charity trivia contest in December 2020.
Crypto Donors To Star-Studded Benefit Raise $440K For Autism Awareness
Thanks to support from Nexo, viewers were able to donate in cryptocurrency to the “ColorTheSpectrum” live stream last week.
On April 30, a virtual benefit co-hosted by American TV star Jimmy Kimmel and NASA engineer-turned-YouTuber Mark Rober raised over $3 million in donations to support NEXT for AUTISM, a charity dedicated to addressing the needs of people with autism and their families across the United States.
The interactive livestream featured a wide range of well-known entertainers, comedians, musicians, and athletes, among them Jon Stewart, Conan O’Brien, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler and Charlize Theron.
The virtual benefit was also brought a step forward into the digital currency era, with crypto lender Nexo and The Giving Block offering a payment channel for viewers to donate to the charity using a wide range of crypto assets. Alongside Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), donations in Dai (DAI), The Graph (GRT), Litecoin (LTC) , Storj (STORJ), Zcash (ZEC), 0x (ZRX) and other altcoins were supported.
Now that the livestream has ended, Nexo has left open its crypto donations portal for viewers to catch up and contribute their funds to the charity. The company told Cointelegraph that it was still gathering data from ongoing contributions from crypto contributors and would release its final tally soon. A representative from The Giving Block meanwhile provided the organization’s own figures for crypto raised by Color The Spectrum:
“The event raised over $440,000 in crypto donations from about 100 donors. In general, the crypto community continues to be incredibly generous, especially during bull markets. We’re seeing millions of dollars donated on a monthly basis.”
While the event was successful in engaging high-profile stars and raising funds, a large section of the autism community has voiced criticism of multiple aspects of the Color The Spectrum initiative. In one open letter signed by a group of autism activists, they pointed to their concerns about the recipient charity, NEXT for AUTISM, highlighting its failure to communicate directly with autistic-led organizations.
There has also been a high level of dissent regarding NEXT’s controversial contribution of funds to the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain. The latter is an organization that researches the causes of and “cures” for autism, an approach that the autistic community has condemned as eugenicist and unacceptable.
Mark Rober has engaged with the aforementioned open letter and its criticisms, leading to a dialogue that the authors have characterized as being in good faith. Other members of the community have emphasized that they feel their concerns have not been adequately responded to by many of the participants in the event.
In parallel, autism activitsts have also circulated their own hashtag #FinanceTheSpectrum, which aims to highlight NEXT’s failure to address the persistent under- and unemployment that autistic people continue to struggle with.
The Giving Block is a major crypto donations platform that has partnered with various crypto industry actors in the past. Last month, the organization launched an initiative called the “Crypto Giving Pledge,” which encourages crypto investors to pledge at least 1% of their holdings to charities each year.
In The Giving Block’s estimation, if every participant in the crypto market donated 1% of their holdings to charities, they could collectively raise $20 billion, based on the market capitalization of digital assets in late April, the time of the initiative’s launch.
Four Crypto Veterans Pledge To Give At Least 1% Of Their Wealth To Charity Each Year
Ryan Selkis, Dan Matuszewski, Qiao Wang and Haseeb Qureshi join the new crypto donations initiative established by The Giving Block.
Four crypto and blockchain veterans have joined Founders Circle, an industry group supporting The Giving Block’s new crypto-focused charity drive.
The “Crypto Giving Pledge” encourages cryptocurrency investors and businesses to donate at least 1% of their holdings to charities each year. The initiative is part of The Giving Block’s mandate of increasing charitable giving and enabling more nonprofits to accept cryptocurrency donations.
The Giving Block assembled Founders Circle to promote the initiative and has invited many industry leaders to join. Over the past week, Founders Circle has welcomed four new members, beginning with Ryan Selkis, the founder and CEO of Messari, on Apr. 27.
Also answering the call is Dan Matuszewski, founder of CMS Holdings and former head of Circle Trade, and Qiao Wang of DeFi Alliance. They joined the Circle on Apr. 28 and 29, respectively.
On Tuesday, Haseeb Qureshi, the managing director of Dragonfly Capital, was unveiled as the fourth member of the industry group. Regarding his decision to join Founders Circle, Qureshi said:
“The crypto community has been incredibly generous to me, and I’m fortunate to be able return some of that generosity. I’m excited to donate to high-impact charities—and as it happens, crypto is the best way to do that.”
The Giving Block will announce new Founders Circle members through May 30 when applications to join the group officially close.
The Crypto Giving Pledge launched at an opportune time in the evolution of digital assets. The cryptocurrency market is currently worth around $2.3 trillion, which means a 1% contribution from all industry members and investors would be equivalent to $23 billion. Growing mainstream acceptance of digital assets is likely to compel more non-profits into accepting crypto donations.
A good example of this trend shift is the Crypto Cancer Fund established by the American Cancer Society and The Giving Block in January. The research fund accepts donations in the form of Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and other cryptocurrencies.
The Rise Of Crypto Charities: Elongate And Munch Raise Millions For Various Causes
The cryptocurrency community is flexing its generosity amid the latest bull market, as charitable donations continue to grow.
Two unrelated cryptocurrency projects have collectively raised over $3 million for charitable contributions this month, underscoring the potential of digital assets in aiding mission-based non-profits around the world.
Elongate, a cryptocurrency project that began as a parody of Elon Musk’s reference to the Watergate scandal, has raised $2 million for various food and general support programs via Human Relief Foundation and Give India. The latter is a Covid-19 relief effort in the South Asian country in the wake of a devastating spike in new infections.
Some of the biggest Elongate contributors are Children International, Action Against Hunger, The Ocean Cleanup, Big Green, Human Relief Foundation and Give India, among others.
“In just a month, the Elongate ecosystem has grown to change the face of charity and crypto trading,” said Hasan Aziz, the project’s chief technology officer.
Elongate also announced that its token will begin trading on BitMart Monday, May 10.
Despite starting off as a meme, Elongate has emerged as a major player in the market for crypto-based charities. The project claims to have over 400,000 holders worldwide.
Meanwhile, DeFi project Munch has raised over $1 million to aid various causes in developing nations through the GiveWell Maximum Impact Fund. Over the years, the Maximum Impact Fund has allocated tens of millions of dollars to combating malaria and other diseases in Africa.
The Munch project was able to raise the funds via Ether (ETH) transaction fees on every buy and sell order made on its platform. The transaction fee, which was 10%, was evenly distributed to its token holders and the charity.
The cryptocurrency community is stepping up in a big way to distribute its wealth to good causes. As Cointelegraph recently reported, The Giving Block has launched a new charity drive to encourage community members to donate at least 1% of their crypto holdings to charities each year. Several high-profile crypto industry veterans have already joined the initiative.
Crypto-Philanthropy Is Here. What Will It Do?
New ways of making money have often generated new approaches to giving it away. What impact will crypto have?
New ways of making money have often generated new approaches to giving it away. With cryptocurrencies now worth more than all the U.S. dollars in circulation, holders face a crucial question: what kind of donors do they want to be?
The rise of cryptocurrencies has forced the finance industry and the world at large to re-examine assumptions on transparency, efficiency and power distribution. And so, crypto donors have an exciting opportunity to not only grapple with the decision of “how much” but also “how.” How, in other words, can they add both to the pool of available resources and ensure it’s better spent?
For better or worse, new sources of wealth often change how philanthropy works. John D. Rockefeller, America’s first billionaire, built its first modern foundation.
Rockefeller had more money than he could give away himself and set up an entity to give according to a broad mandate long after his death. His peers – Carnegie, Mellon, Ford – soon followed and a new philanthropic tool was born.
Decades later, the personal computing revolution spurred Bill & Melinda Gates to position their foundation as a uniquely influential private player in the public health space. And in the years that followed, wealth from internet companies like Facebook drove the growth of effective altruism (or evidence-based philanthropy), as well as the expanded use of new legal structures like donor-advised funds or L.L.C.s.
New structures for giving have also developed. GitCoin uses quadratic funding to crowdsource and match funding for public goods in the Ethereum space. And nonprofit Noora Health issued an NFT promising the purchaser a digital claim to the impact achieved through the NFT’s purchase price.
So how can crypto donors do the most good? First, they can join pioneers like Open Philanthropy Project in helping make altruism more effective. Too much giving still turns on anecdotes versus data. And more of those controlling the purse strings must ask the difficult questions about evidence and impact.
As the Managing Director of a nonprofit called GiveDirectly, I believe charities have much to learn from the transparency, efficiency, and decentralized power at the heart of crypto’s potential. The status quo aid model requires donor money to move through a complex web of multinational and local organizations before reaching its end-destination. Both dollars and information are often eroded along the way, and the end-user is too often deemed a passive recipient of goods or services, instead of an active agent of resource allocation.
One alternative is to simply give people money. At GiveDirectly, we have delivered over $380 million to hundreds of thousands of people, including residents in urban slums, refugees, and survivors of natural disasters across 10 countries. Direct cash transfers are not a silver bullet, but they’re evidence-backed, efficient, and have been increasingly adopted as an industry benchmark.
Cutting out the middlemen in aid has resonated within the crypto community. People like Jack Dorsey, Elon Musk, Vitalik Buterin have joined Pine and thousands of others in sending more than $25 million in cryptocurrencies to people in need through GiveDirectly. Cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology broadly could also help improve the implementation of giving itself better. Smart contracts could implement new approaches to results-based financing, public ledgers could open up new standards in transparent aid, or digital currencies could offer ways to distribute aid despite capital controls or inadequate fiat currencies. Of course, realizing these possibilities will require building with the world’s poorest people in mind (and investing more in those who are already doing so).
While crypto donors have important decisions to make about how and where to give, the work begins further upstream within the industry itself. As Teddy Roosevelt remarked about the industrialists’ new foundations, “No amount of charities in spending such fortunes can compensate in any way for the misconduct in acquiring them.” For cryptocurrency, that may mean tackling carbon footprints, rooting out the scams that prey on its most vulnerable community members, collaborating productively with regulators and tax authorities, or ensuring tomorrow’s financial system includes more diverse perspectives than today’s.
Still, if the giving often looks like the earning, there’s a lot to be hopeful about in the rise of crypto-philanthropy. Let’s make sure it delivers on that potential.
Wharton Reveals Record Bitcoin Gift Amid Crypto Market Rout
It may seem an odd time for a university to accept Bitcoin as a gift.
Violent swings caused the virtual currency to tank as much as 31% at one point on Wednesday before recouping roughly half of those losses. The extreme volatility led to even steeper declines for other digital currencies, outages at major exchanges and a barrage of questions in Washington.
The capitulation occurred as the University of Pennsylvania was preparing to announce it received its largest ever donation in a cryptocurrency — $5 million in Bitcoin to support the activities of a research center at its Wharton school of business. The university was asked not to disclose the donor’s identity.
Even though the majority of the gift is still in the form of Bitcoin, the tumultuous trading of the past few hours leaves John Zeller, Penn’s senior vice president for development and alumni relations, unmoved.
“There is protection for us on the downside,” Zeller said in an interview. “We have what we needed to support the budget and we’ll just see where it goes in the future.”
Colleges typically sell gifts such as real estate and stocks right away to eliminate risks that come with holding and managing assets.
In this case, the structure of the donation, which was received a few weeks ago, allows Penn to capture any gains if the price of Bitcoin rises and protects it from losses if the value of the currency drops below that of the initial gift, Zeller said.
The portion of the $5 million still held in Bitcoin will be monetized over the coming years to meet the budgetary needs of the Stevens Center, which promotes education and research in the field of financial technology and is named after Ross Stevens, the chief executive officer of Stone Ridge Asset Management.
Colleges have wrestled with how to deal with unusual donations, such as artwork or shares in a family business, that can complicate their portfolios. The gifts may raise accounting questions, complicate tax filings or require special storage or security. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which has accepted Bitcoin donations since 2016, said it immediately liquidates gifts received in the cryptocurrency.
“The beauty of this is the donor wanted to use Bitcoin as a vehicle and also had an interest in promoting it,” Zeller said. “For us, it is a bit of an experiment.”
Munch And The Giving Block Partner To Connect Crypto-Ready Nonprofits
The partnership connects The Giving Block, one of the biggest platforms for crypto-friendly nonprofits, with the Munch protocol’s automated donations tool.
Munch, an up-and-coming DeFi project that lets investors give back a portion of their earnings to charitable causes, has officially partnered with The Giving Block — a move that could provide a significant boost to the rapidly growing crypto donations industry.
The new agreement connects The Giving Block’s growing community of crypto-ready nonprofits with the Munch network, which allows users to easily donate to causes they care about. The partnership will also enable new nonprofits to accept Munch donations directly, as well as create a profile on The Giving Block’s fundraising platform.
As Cointelegraph reported in early May, Munch raised over $1 million for developing countries represented by the GiveWell Maximum Impact Fund, which is dedicated to combating malaria and other diseases in Africa.
According to Alex Wilson, co-founder of The Giving Block, Munch has now raised nearly $3 million in under two months. “Not only will this support amazing causes and deliver major impact, but it will continue to expose a new audience to cryptocurrency,” he said.
Rodrigo Silva, The CEO Of Munch, Also Commented About The New Partnership:
“This partnership gives us the reach to offer our community more causes they care about. With our future development, this is set to do a tremendous amount of good for a lot of people.”
Crypto-focused charities continue to grow in popularity, as evidenced by the over $2 million in funding for Endaoment, a new charitable organization that aims to eventually function as a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO.
As for The Giving Block, the organization has ramped up efforts in the crypto donations industry, helping nonprofits like the American Cancer Society and others begin accepting contributions in Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and other digital assets. Back in April, The Giving Block launched the Crypto Giving Pledge to encourage more cryptocurrency investors to donate to charities.
$16B Charity Provider Enables Bitcoin Donations Via The Giving Block
RenPSG to allow charities to accept more than 45 different cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ether and Dogecoin.
The Giving Block, a major organization focused on the cryptocurrency donations industry, continues to expand its crypto charity reach with a new partnership.
The organization will be working with charitable platform provider RenPSG to allow its donors to move cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) into new donor-advised funds to support nonprofits and other charitable organizations, The Giving Block announced Sept. 23.
As part of the partnership, RenPSG will start offering a solution that allows charities to accept more than 45 different cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and Dogecoin (DOGE).
Renaissance Charitable Foundation, a donor-advised fund sponsor, will be the first of RenPSG’s institutional clients to begin accepting crypto donations via the new solution starting this week, The Giving Block said.
Founded back in 1987, RenPSG is a major charity platform operating a custom donor-advised solution by providing a proprietary philanthropic software known as DFX. According to The Giving Block, the RenPSG supported $16.6 billion in donor-advised fund assets for financial firms and nonprofit organizations throughout the United States in 2020.
“With RenPSG’s massive reach, The Giving Block is taking another step towards making crypto philanthropy a worldwide phenomenon,” the organization noted on Twitter.
Kelly Palmer, RenPSG’s executive director vice president of strategic growth operations, pointed out that the platform is embracing crypto donations in response to the growing industry adoption:
“As the number of cryptocurrency users has grown, so has the number of crypto donations. We expect many of our clients to take advantage of this solution to diversify the types of assets they accept into their donor-advised fund offering and create interest to a whole new pool of donors.”
The Giving Block co-founder Pat Duffy told Cointelegraph that Bitcoin and Ether were the top donated cryptocurrencies throughout the organization’s network in 2021. “Historically Bitcoin has been dominant, but this year ETH seems to be pulling away with the lead,” he noted, adding that DOGE donations have also seen a surge this year.
Founded in 2018, The Giving Block is a major crypto donation solution focused on helping nonprofits raise funds in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. On Monday, the organization announced that it is on pace to process over $100 million in cryptocurrency donations in 2021. The Giving Block also expects to facilitate $1 billion in cryptocurrency donations in 2022 through a number of partnerships that are set to go live in the fourth quarter of 2021 ahead of Giving Season.
Yemen National Uses Crypto Donations To Fight Starvation Amid Civil War
16 million people in Yemen — including 400,000 children under the age of five — already face food supplies at critical levels.
A Redditor living in Yemen’s capital city of Sana’a claims to be using cryptocurrencies to buy food packages for families unable to access supplies during an ongoing civil war.
According to a Thursday Reddit post from user yemenvoice, the Yemen national has raised thousands of dollars in crypto donations to be used towards fighting starvation in the Middle Eastern nation. They claim to have provided 22 families with flour, rice, oil and beans and hope to reach 30 more in the near future.
“I have tried very hard to help my people by finding any possible way,” said yemenvoice. “I have tried to set up online donation campaigns, but unfortunately, all online donation platforms do not support Yemen. So, I thought of using cryptocurrencies as an alternative method, and indeed it was much easier and more effective.”
Yemen’s civil war began in 2014, followed by a Saudi Arabian-led coalition of forces responding to a request for assistance from ousted President Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. The country has been subject to a blockade by air, land and sea since March 2015, leading to millions of Yemenis in need of basic necessities.
According to David Beasley, the executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, 16 million people in Yemen “are marching towards starvation” — including 400,000 children under the age of five, according to a separate report — with food supplies already at critical levels.
Yemenvoice claims to have been able to “break the siege” and get funds into the country to buy food by using cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Dogecoin (DOGE), and Nano (NANO).
“[I] received donations, then transferred from my wallet to the wallets of merchants or the exchange company (we have only one company that accepts Bitcoin), then I bought these food packages, as you can see, and distributed them to the elderly, single mothers and orphans, although there is no difference between young or old, everyone is starving.”
According to blockchain records, Yemenvoice’s addresses have received roughly $600 in BTC, $1 in BCH, and $64 in NANO, but the Redditor told Cointelegraph they have received $12,000 in crypto, $3,000 of which has already been used “to pay medical bills, buy medicines, pay rent and buy food.”
Though the story and use of the funds could not be verified independently, yemenvoice claimed to have selected people in need and “paying them wherever I found them.” Many Reddit users expressed their support for the project but questioned how someone could use crypto effectively in an area like Yemen.
“If I send an amount of Bitcoin, they give me the equivalent in exchange for the dollar, but in the local currency, and so on I buy and distribute these goods,” said yemenvoice. “Soon you will see shop owners in Yemen trading in Bitcoin and not converting it to dollars or even to the local currency. Especially with the deterioration of living conditions here and the collapse of the Yemeni riyal.”
While the efforts of this Redditor seem to be using crypto as a force for good, others based in different countries have bypassed sanctions from the United States or United Nations by relying on cryptocurrency donations. In Venezuela, authorities went so far as to tacitly endorse the use of crypto seemingly as a measure to evade various sanctions imposed on the country.
The Giving Block Launches 15 New Funds To Direct Crypto Donations By Cause
Donors can use one of 45 cryptocurrencies to contribute to a range of nonprofits grouped by mission.
Cryptocurrency charity platform The Giving Block has announced the launch of 15 new “Cause Funds” to better direct donations to charities with similar goals and missions.
The Giving Block was established to facilitate cryptocurrency donations to over 700 nonprofits around the world, including Save the Children, Malala Fund and World Vision.
The new Cause Funds “bundle together multiple nonprofits that have a similar focus or mission,” according to The Giving Block’s website, adding that the feature is perfect for those who want to support a specific issue or cause rather than an organization.
This way, the funds enabled multiple charities to grow their impact, not only those with instant name recognition.
“We often heard from donors that they wanted to support a certain type of cause — for example, the environment — but had a hard time choosing a cause,” The Giving Block co-founder Alex Wilson told Cointelegraph.
“The Cause Funds allow donors to support an entire category of impact with one transaction. It’s a win-win for the charities and the donor.”
The categories align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including health and medicine; liberty and freedom; military veterans and first responders; poverty and housing; technology and science; animals; arts and culture; children and youth; civil and human rights; disasters and conflict; economic development; and food and water.
“What the donations are used for is going to vary widely depending on the cause. Some might be used to build schools, while other funds might be used to feed hungry kids,” Wilson said, adding that the goal was to raise $100 million for charity via crypto donations this year.
Hundreds of nonprofits have reportedly already signed up to participate in the Cause Funds. At this point, only United States-based companies are eligible, but Wilson said they hope to expand internationally soon. The Cause Funds will be updated to include new nonprofits at the start of every month.
Donors can contribute to a cause, using one of 45 selected cryptocurrencies. Once per month, the total value of each fund will be distributed evenly between all of the nonprofit organizations participating in that fund.
Beyond the charities supported by the funds, The Giving Block said that the donations will also have a profound ripple effect on crypto adoption more widely.
“With a large number of nonprofits finding success in crypto fundraising, crypto adoption in the charitable sector is destined to grow exponentially. In turn, this reinforces charitable giving as an important use case for cryptocurrencies,” according to The Giving Block’s website.
Crypto: The Gift That Keeps On Giving (To Charity)
Regardless of people’s motivations for giving, there’s a huge opportunity for charitable efforts to thrive in crypto.
Manuel Gonzalez Alzuru, a co-founder of a soon-to-launch non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace, says he is “doin’ good,” with a smile and a nod over a video call. “It never gets old saying that.” His platform, boyishly named DoinGud, is what Alzuru calls a “prosocial” experiment – a way to funnel some of the massive profits generated by the emergent NFT economy to worthy causes.
“Ethereum gave me freedom,” Alzuru, 31, said. “And I’m always looking for ways to give back and to get some freedom for others as well.” That’s a message he thinks others in crypto could get behind. DoinGud, set to launch on Nov. 30, distinguishes itself from the increasingly crowded field of NFT markets by automatically directly a percentage (5%-95%) of sales to charities.
For an industry that prides itself on working on behalf of the “public good,” outright philanthropy isn’t often prioritized. Companies, projects and individuals have made breathtaking profits this year during a bull market that has driven the entire market cap of all cryptos, at times, above $3 trillion. It’s money that’s sometimes literally printed from nowhere and might be put to good use.
“In order for you to give, you need to have something to give,” Alzuru said. NFTs have unlocked untold fortunes for a number of artists across industries – seemingly regardless of experience or, at times, talent. The “creator economy” was well underway in 2018 when the ERC-721 white paper was published, describing the smart contract standard underpinning NFTs. Since then, however, NFTs have extended the playing field of who can get paid for their work online.
That’s at least part of what Alzuru means when he says “freedom:” Crypto has given him more than just financial “independence” (though there is that): It hast also granted him the lowercase-l, liberal freedoms some people in North America or Europe may take for granted. Born in Venezuela, Alzuru said he felt he had no guaranteed right to speech or expression, until he found Ethereum.
“I’m able now to express myself on Ethereum, on the internet, and it stays there,” he said. “No one can take that away from me.” That’s the power of property rights enforced by code, he said. But don’t confuse him with any old capitalist; Alzuru, perhaps like Ethereum itself, is ideologically fluid.
“I also believe in communal property rights, ‘public goods’ or public infrastructure,” he said, invoking the idea that crypto, open and accessible to all in theory, is a new type of digital commons. That’s ultimately what he wants DoinGud to become, to exist at the protocol level, a tool that other NFT or DeFi platforms can integrate to automate charitable giving.
But public goods are open to exploitation. Or, as street artist Rich Simmons put it in an email, “The whole NFT and crypto climates so far have felt like a bit of a cash grab.” Simmons is joining the ranks (including publications like CoinDesk and The New Yorker) of those using NFTs to fund charitable giving. He’s using a platform called HistoryMakr and donating to several mental health organizations.
Give Crypto To Get Back
Is crypto charity a way to cover up some of the evils of the industry? Under fire for its environmental footprint, rampant scams and general social toxicity, crypto certainly needs a little goodwill.
But “corporate social responsibility,” the idea that traditional businesses owe something to the world in addition to their shareholders, often leads to less-than-desirable and sometimes hysterical results. It’s the same mentality that has the Central Intelligence Agency whitewashing itself as a progressive wing of government.
At launch, creators on DoinGud will be able to determine which causes to support and what percentage is handed over. The intention is to open source its code and form a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) to set protocols around charitable giving. “Consensus is also always changing,” Alzuru said, and six-member founding team isn’t comfortable determining what is “right or wrong.”
A “curated” registry, launched in collaboration with The Giving Block, an established project that enables charities to accept crypto, may eventually blacklist unsavory recipients.
Regardless of people’s motivations for giving, there’s a huge opportunity for charitable efforts to thrive in crypto. Blockchain has long been touted as a way to bring transparency to an industry that sometimes operates in the dark. Smart contracts, like the ones DoinGud designed, can make giving a routine part of doing business. Not to mention the wealth, the insane wealth, created during bull markets.
Alzuru even thinks the psychological effects that transparent blockchains foster, the same mental forces that drive people to display NFTs as avatars on social media, could benefit charity. “With crypto, you have this proof that you’ve given back to the community,” Alzuru said, referring to the paper trail left on Ethereum. “Most of the time, [when giving], people are showing us vanity.”
“You might want to create something for the betterment of humanity,” he said. “What you need to first think about yourself, like if you’re not good, if you’re not doing good yourself, you cannot be creating stuff for others.”
Charity Platform Expects Significantly Larger Crypto Than Fiat Donations For Giving Tuesday
“Cryptocurrency may be tricky to understand, but the value of a major crypto donation converted into cash is not,” said Engiven founder James Lawrence.
Engiven, a crypto donation platform that has helped facilitate contributions to the Salvation Army and others, expects religious groups and non-profit organizations will see significant charitable payments in crypto tomorrow for Giving Tuesday.
The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States as a day when people and organizations come together to donate their time and money towards worthwhile causes — wherever they might be located. Engiven founder James Lawrence said he expects to see more crypto-based donations as part of the global generosity movement, given the increase in prices of Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and other tokens.
According to Lawrence, the platform has facilitated crypto donations for more than 400 faith-based organizations — including a single BTC donation for $10 million in October — and has seen that donations are “nearly fifty times higher” when people chose crypto as the medium of exchange. He reported the average donation on Engiven using a credit card since 2011 has been roughly $150, while that of any cryptocurrency is $7,500.
“In its current state, crypto donations are both an effective donation and a significant tax deduction, if the donor has appreciated crypto they’ve owned for more than a year,” said Lawrence. “It’s not uncommon to see five or six figure donations to ministries on our platform.”
“Cryptocurrency may be tricky to understand, but the value of a major crypto donation converted into cash is not. And that’s what’s happening.”
Engiven helped launch crypto donations for the Salvation Army, one of the largest charities in the world, before Christmas in 2020, when many U.S. residents were socially isolating, in lockdown or otherwise unable to physically place cash in the group’s traditional red kettles. According to the platform, the Salvation Army will be renewing its efforts this holiday season with a fundraising campaign around “Crypto at the Red Kettle” — the charity currently accepts BTC and ETH.
The Giving Block, another platform allowing non-profit organizations and charities to accept donations in crypto, is also looking to raise funds for Giving Tuesday, also known as Crypto Giving Tuesday. The website announced a target of more than $100 million in crypto donations by 2022 “with hundreds of nonprofits ready to fundraise crypto throughout November and December.”
“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, most non-profits had an online strategy and giving was part of that,” said Lawrence. “Today, no faith-based organization, church or non-profit can afford to neglect its online audience, donors and seekers. Crypto is rapidly becoming part of that online ecosystem.”
The Giving Block Raises $2.4M For Charity On ‘CryptoGivingTuesday’
Giving Tuesday marked the start of the season for crypto giving and The Giving Block is leading the crypto fundraising campaign.
After Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes Giving Tuesday, a day that encourages contributing to charity. The year saw a rise in crypto-philanthropy, thanks to The Giving Block’s initiative of Crypto Giving Tuesday, which initially began in 2019. The organization that equips nonprofits to accept cryptocurrency donations raised $2.4 million in crypto this year, a 583% increase from Crypto Giving Tuesday 2020.
From charities, universities, faith-based to other mission-driven organizations, 1,071 total nonprofits participated. And the average donation was $12,600. The majority of donations were done in Ether (ETH), with Bitcoin (BTC) and USD Coin (USDC) in second and third place, respectively. It can be noted that ETH overtook BTC for the top spot in total donation volume, with more than $1.2 million worth of ETH donated.
For its overall campaign, dubbed #BagSeason, The Giving Block had set a goal to raise more than $100 million in crypto donations by Dec. 31. Following #CryptoGivingTuesday, the organization has fundraised over $50 million to date, according to their website. They plan to find an additional 5,000 crypto users to each donate at least $10,000 to reach their target.
The Giving Block’s sponsors include companies like Zengo, GSR, Gemini, Abra, Messari and Cheddar. Additional donors, whether they are individuals or organizations, have the option to commit to donating annually 1% or more of their crypto holdings to charity. Among the top five members in this Crypto Giving Pledge donor list are professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, actor Rainn Wilson and crypto derivatives exchange FTX.
The Giving Block will launch nonfungible token (NFT) Tuesday, a one-day celebration of NFT philanthropy, next Tuesday. In light of NFT donor demographic growth, The Giving Block recently announced a collaboration with Sotheby’s x Sostento Twitter 140 Collection to process the proceeds of the NFT auction.
It’s Time For The Philanthropic Sector To Embrace Digital Currencies
Such principles as decentralization and tokenization will enrich the nonprofit and charitable sectors via accepting donations in crypto.
The amount of cryptocurrencies on the market has skyrocketed from 500 in 2014 to nearly 7,000 only seven years later in October 2021. A reported 14% of people in the United States — which roughly equals 21.2 million people — have purchased some form of cryptocurrency, with more than 300 million crypto owners estimated worldwide.
It’s clear: Cryptocurrency is here to stay, and its path to global recognition and success has only just begun. I have shared before how and why innovative sectors of longevity and biotech should cooperate with digital currency visionaries to future-proof their work.
Crypto founders, CEOs and purchasers are already breaking down barriers and contributing to a more decentralized future in their everyday lives. By empowering individuals with access to diverse assets and opportunities to invest outside of traditional financial offerings, the cryptocurrency industry is creating a future built with innovation in mind.
I see no reason why this innovation should remain locked in these tech-oriented sectors — the philanthropic world can and should benefit as well. Accepting donations in crypto is a straightforward first step that demonstrates to the broader community that an organization acknowledges its importance and is ready to embrace disruptive technology.
Several philanthropic initiatives in our field of longevity have already done so. The SENS Research Foundation is a leading longevity research organization that aims to research, develop and promote comprehensive solutions for aging-related diseases. By educating the general public about new advancements and attracting educated donors, the SENS Foundation supports projects working to cure heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Notably, it has made cryptocurrencies an integral part of its operations. SENS accepts donations made in 72 different cryptocurrencies ranging from Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) to Dogecoin (DOGE) and Aave (AAVE).
In 2018, Vitalik Buterin donated $2.4 million in ETH to the Foundation, and other crypto visionaries have followed suit. Richard Heart, the founder of HEX, launched an airdrop in partnership with SENS that called on users to donate a portion of their cryptocurrencies and be entered to win Heart’s new cryptocurrency PulseChain. The PulseChain airdrop raised over $25 million to support the Foundation’s work, which is clear proof that collaboration between cryptocurrency and longevity can be an incredibly powerful tool.
I would be remiss to overlook the newly announced Longevity Science Foundation, which I help run. We accept donations in all major cryptocurrencies and plan to work closely with leaders in the crypto industry to build a decentralized and transparent mode of funding.
Because all donors, crypto leaders included, receive voting rights in the Foundation’s funding decisions, the Foundation has committed to supporting projects that reflect the most visionary ways of viewing the world.
But of course, accepting cryptocurrency donations is not a phenomenon limited to longevity nonprofits and foundations. Other founders and fundraising teams are waking up to the incredible power of cryptocurrency and the decentralization it offers.
For example, The Giving Block provides tools for any non-profit to accept cryptocurrency donations as well as makes it easier for philanthropists to make donations in their preferred digital currency to 400+ organizations like the American Cancer Society and No Kid Hungry.
Several other worldwide non-profits, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and World Relief, are following suit. If these global entities known for their charitable work and admirable goals can embrace cryptocurrency and the donors behind it, so should other nonprofit organizations.
Call For Action
It is time for the philanthropic and non-profit sectors to wake up to the potential of digital currencies. Longer human lifespans, and many other important advancements, are in our reach, but support from diverse industries and minds is critical.
Adopting principles from the crypto industry, such as decentralization and tokenization, can enrich these foundations and modernize their operations while accepting donations in cryptocurrencies will help ensure that innovators and change-makers can contribute to major advancements. Together, we can build a better future with all the tools (and currencies!) at our disposal.
Projects Are Collecting Toys For Tots Crypto Donations This Holiday Season
“The cryptocurrency bull market has been good to all of us in this industry and this holiday season is the perfect time to pay it forward,” said Unbanked co-CEO Ian Kane.
This holiday season, fintech provider Unbanked will be enabling crypto donations for Toys for Tots, a program run by the United States Marine Corps that collects toys to distribute to disadvantaged children.
In a Dec. 2 announcement, Unbanked said it would be allowing users to donate cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) as part of a fundraising effort for Toys for Tots. Until Dec. 20, good Samaritans can send any amount of money towards the program which has given 604 million toys to 272 million children across the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“The cryptocurrency bull market has been good to all of us in this industry and this holiday season is the perfect time to pay it forward,” said Unbanked co-CEO Ian Kane. “We naturally wanted to use the benefits of crypto to give back during this holiday season.”
Unbanked does not exclusively represent all crypto users’ philanthropic endeavors, however. A project operating under the name Elf Token reported it has received $41,200 to be used toward purchases for Toys for Tots as of Dec. 4, with a goal of raising $100,000 over the holiday season.
In addition, the Giving Block, a platform which allows non-profit organizations and charities to accept donations in crypto, currently enables donations using many tokens for the toy collection program.
Charities, universities, faith-based organizations and others have stepped up the number and amount of donations in crypto as part of Giving Tuesday this year. Cointelegraph reported on Dec. 2 that the Giving Block raised $2.4 million in crypto this year, representing a 583% increase from the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in 2020. The platform is aiming to raise more than $100 million in crypto donations by the end of the year.
We Are Seeing ‘10X Growth In Terms Of The Number Of Nonprofits Accepting Crypto,’ Says Alex Wilson Of The Giving Block
The amount of crypto donations through The Giving Block surged to $100 million this year from $4 million in 2020.
With the market capitalization of digital currencies surpassing $2 trillion, there is now record interest in crypto philanthropy. From helping to build a school in Uganda to fundraising for frontline healthcare workers and raising awareness for artists with intellectual disabilities, many nonprofit projects are gaining traction with generous assistance from crypto enthusiasts.
But the rewards of giving crypto to charities aren’t limited to the feeling of having accomplished an altruistic task. The Internal Revenue Service currently classifies crypto as capital assets, like stocks. That means an investor can deduct the full market value of the cryptocurrency at the time of donation against their ordinary income (i.e., salary) over the period of a few years, while avoiding the capital gains tax altogether.
For example, suppose a crypto investor, Elsa, makes $85,000 per year on employment income (single tax filing) and bought $10,000 worth of Bitcoin (BTC) four years ago. In December, she donates the full value of her investment, now worth $29,650, to the American Cancer Society.
Not only does the ACS get a lump sum of cash to fund its operations, but Elsa can deduct 30% of the value of her donation per year, with the remaining amount carried forth for a maximum of five years. So her income for tax purposes for year one would only be $76,105, with Elsa saving $7,116 in federal taxes in total due to her donation.
The generous tax treatment of crypto donations may be precisely why the practice is becoming so popular. In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Alex Wilson, CEO of nonprofit fundraising platform The Giving Block, discussed how the setup results in a win-win situation for investors and charities alike. During Crypto Giving Tuesday, the organization raised over $2.4 million in a single day for charities.
Cointelegraph: How are you making the donations secure to reach their intended charitable organizations?
Alex Wilson: We were intentional in the way we set this up so that all the donations from a donor always go directly to a charity’s wallet. Now, we aren’t a pastor or anything like that, so it’s always going directly to the charity’s wallet. And on the back end, they have institutional accounts with Gemini. That way, they don’t have to worry about, you know, managing their private keys and things like that. They use a custody solution of Gemini through us.
CT: Was there a major theme this year regarding donations?
AW: I mean, it’s normalized to be a little bit of everything in terms of the theme. We see all sorts of different types of charities, also different sizes. We work with a lot of local charities, but also national, international brands. So, a little bit of everything really. I wouldn’t say there’s one group or one type of nonprofit that’s getting more donations than others. But I would say some of the larger charities tend to do pretty well, like some of the name brands that you might recognize, like Save the Children or American Cancer Society — you know, names like that. They tend to do a really good job fundraising. Or groups like St. Jude. They’re good at fundraising donations in general, so they tend to be better at fundraising crypto as well.
CT: What is the volume of donations you saw this year, and how does it compare with previous years?
AW: We’ll do over $100 million in donation volume just this year. And usually, it’s more than people expect. So, it’s significantly more than last year. Last year, we did $4 million for the entire last year. We’re doing more than that every month now. Also, in terms of the number of nonprofits, we’re working with huge growth. We had about 100 nonprofits on the platform last year, and now we just passed 1,000. So, basically 10x growth in terms of the number of nonprofits accepting crypto. It’s really hitting a tipping point now, and it’s becoming more mainstream. So, basically, nonprofits are getting more comfortable with the idea of raising crypto, especially now that they see these excellent outcomes. It’s no longer this like fringe thing. They’re seeing large companies getting into crypto, and they’re getting much more comfortable with this concept of fundraising crypto.
CT: Do you have any features where an NFT could be donated directly to a charity organization or something similar to physical artwork?
AW: Typically, what we recommend is just donating the proceeds of the NFT. The tricky thing about sending the NFT directly to the nonprofit is valuation and tax deductibility. So, it gets complicated with NFTs since there isn’t a lot of guidance from the IRS and other tax agencies on the tax treatment of NFTs. But it is evident when you’re just donating the proceeds because then it’s just like a regular crypto donation. So, in general, we’re saying, “Hey, if you’re an artist, a creator, please sell the NFT, then donate the proceeds directly to charity as Ether,” or whatever chain they sold it on. And that’s been popular. I mean, millions of dollars every month are being raised from this new category that we’re calling NFT philanthropy. And we even have a special day coming up next week called NFT Tuesday. So, next week, we’ll highlight all these philanthropic communities and creators and work with companies like Nifty Gateway.
CT: To follow up on that question, where do you see regulation heading in this sector?
AW: I think it will continue to get more apparent. Luckily, for crypto donations — surprisingly — that was remarkably clear for a long time already, as early as 2014. The IRS already put out guidance on how crypto donations are treated from a tax perspective. What the IRS decided in 2014 was that crypto would be treated as property. And when it comes to donating property, for crypto, it’s very similar to how crypto treats stock and other property donations because the donors don’t have to pay capital gains taxes on those donations. They get a fair market value deduction on their taxes when donating. And then for the charities, if they’re a registered charity, they’re tax-exempt, too. So, the charity isn’t paying taxes either. It’s a great win-win situation for both the donor and the charity.
CT: Do you plan to integrate with DeFi, such as designing a solution that could directly enable a portion of proceeds from borrowing and lending interest rates to go to charities?
AW: We’re working on something similar to that; it hasn’t gone live yet. The way we’ve started working with some of the DeFi platforms and protocols is, for example, we’ve partnered with 1inch, where users on the 1inch platform can donate to all of the causes we work with. So, if you go on the 1inch page, there’s a donate-crypto button on their page. And if you click that, you’re able to donate to all the different causes we work with. We don’t have anything yet for lending, staking and yield-earning kind of stuff yet, but that’s coming in the future.
CT: Would you like to include any mission statement or any additional comments?
AW: I would like just a couple of things I would add briefly. December is, you know, certainly the busiest time for donations. Yesterday, we just kicked off our end-of-year campaign with Crypto Giving Tuesday. So, we started our own sort of crypto equivalent and bought a Crypto Giving Tuesday.
And we use that as a kickoff point for a month-long campaign we do in December. And because there is this vast tax benefit we talked about, we see more donations happening in December than the rest of the month combined.
So, there’s this hype and attention in December for people who are meeting with their accountants or tax attorneys or whoever their advisers might be on this stuff to make sure they get their donations in before year-end so it’s included in this tax year. So we, you know, will be raising a lot this year. And it’s amazing to see the crypto community come together for this.
This month, we’ll be announcing how much our Crypto Giving Pledge members are donating and who they’re donating to. And you know, it’s pretty well-known people in the space, like Ryan Selkis, Meltem Demirors — a lot of really recognizable names that will be making huge charitable donations in December.
Cryptos Are A Popular Holiday Gift For Americans — NFTs Not So Much
Bitcoin, Dogecoin and Ether lead the list as the most popular cryptocurrencies Americans plan to gift during the holiday season.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Dogecoin (DOGE) and Ether (ETH) are set to become the gift of choice for the people of the United States, a new study by crypto lending firm BlockFi revealed.
Conducted in October among more than 1,250 U.S. residents, BlockFi’s “Real Talk: Happy HODLdays” survey found that nearly one in 10 Americans would give crypto to their loved ones as a holiday gift.
Bitcoin is the most popular gift by a large margin (75%) for people who plan to give or receive crypto as a present during the 2021 holidays, followed by Dogecoin and Ether, respectively. Nonfungible tokens (NFTs), on the other hand, still need time to be accepted as a gift alternative as only 2% of respondents are interested in receiving them as a gift.
Moreover, crypto will likely become a hot topic at family dinner tables, as one in three respondents prefer talking about their popular digital assets instead of politics during the holiday season, the survey showed. While boomers would still prefer to talk politics, Gen Z and millennials plan to open the conversation with crypto.
The survey pointed out the lack of knowledge on how to actually give crypto. Less than a quarter of respondents actually knew how to send crypto to someone as a present. This shows that crypto is becoming a popular topic but further education would benefit an even larger population, BlockFi co-founder and senior vice president of operations Flori Marquez said.
BlockFi also asked respondents about their new year plans. A third of millennials plan to buy crypto in 2022 while it decreases to 25% in the older generations. Some 15% of respondents said they plan to buy an NFT in 2022. One thing to note is that Gen-Zers, born after 1997, prefer to buy Dogecoin over Ether.
A similar survey, conducted in Australia by Crypto.com, found that a quarter of Aussie crypto users plan to buy crypto gifts for their loved ones this Christmas.
Making Year-End Donations? Get The Most Tax Bang For Your Charity Buck
New rules for 2021 provide extra tax deductions for charitable giving. But some older rules are worth reviewing too. Here are charitable-deduction strategies to consider before the year ends.
Dec. 31 is the last day for individuals to make tax-deductible charitable donations for 2021.
Congress has made two key changes to enhance tax breaks for giving during the pandemic that expire after this year. One allows millions of taxpayers who wouldn’t normally get a tax break for donations to deduct up to $300 per single filer and $600 per married couple filing jointly.
The other allows a full deduction this year for donors making gifts up to 100% of their income, instead of a partial one.
These changes, plus this year’s surge in the stock market and cryptocurrency values, make it a good time for charitably inclined taxpayers to focus on getting the most bang for their donation buck via tax-efficient moves.
“People who are going to make charitable donations need to consider the myriad options Congress has provided, because that can make a big difference in what the charity receives and how much you owe in taxes,” says Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting.
Here’s one simplified example: Say Jack is a high-earning donor who has a taxable investment account with $5,000 of long-held stock or cryptocurrency that he bought for $2,000, and he wants to donate $5,000 to a favorite charity.
If Jack sells his stock or crypto, he’ll owe federal tax of 23.8% on his $3,000 long-term gain, leaving him with less than $4,300 to donate and deduct. If he gives the stock directly to the charity, he won’t owe capital-gains tax, and he’ll get a deduction for the full $5,000. The charity will typically sell the shares and pocket the $5,000.
To be sure, Congress has added numerous limits and strict requirements for taxpayers seeking breaks for charitable giving. Typically the donation must be made to a qualified charity, and donors can’t deduct the portion of a contribution that provides a benefit to them, such as the cost of a tote bag stuffed with goodies.
Before taking the deduction, many donors must also have a written notice from the charity detailing the gift. The good news is that this year’s last-minute donors don’t need proof of their donation until tax-filing time in 2022.
With the end of the year approaching, here’s more about charitable-deduction strategies. For additional information, see IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions.
Just for this year—unless Congress extends the law—taxpayers who don’t itemize deductions on Schedule A can deduct cash donations of up to $600 for joint filers and $300 for single filers. “Cash” includes donations made by check, credit or debit card and electronic funds transfer, among others.
This change offers a benefit to the great majority of tax filers who don’t itemize deductions, including more than 30 million who have switched to the standard deduction since the 2017 tax overhaul.
The $300/$600 deduction for non-itemizers is “below the line,” so it reduces taxable income but not adjusted gross income. The donations must also be made directly to a qualified charity other than a donor-advised fund.
What about givers who don’t itemize but donate IRA assets through so-called qualified charitable distributions, as discussed below? If they make separate donations in cash, they can still take a deduction up to $300 (single filers) or $600 (joint filers) for that.
Also just for 2021, taxpayers who itemize can benefit from a much larger deduction for cash donations—up to 100% of adjusted gross income. Ordinarily donors can deduct cash contributions only up to 60% of income, although they can deduct the excess over five years. These donations can’t be to donor-advised funds.
Donations Of Appreciated Stock
As detailed earlier, this benefit can allow owners of appreciated, publicly traded shares held for longer than a year to donate the shares to a charity, avoid capital-gains tax on the appreciation, and deduct the fair market value as a charitable donation.
Lawrence Katzenstein, an attorney specializing in charitable planning with Thompson Coburn in St. Louis, urges donors to get stock to their chosen charities as soon as possible.
“If you wait until Dec. 31, that may be too late. At least check with your broker to determine how quickly the firm can make a transfer,” he says.
IRA Asset Donations
This benefit, called a QCD or qualified charitable distribution, permits owners of traditional IRAs who are 70½ or older to donate account assets totaling up to $100,000 a year directly to one or more charities. If the saver is 72 or older, the donations can count toward their required annual payout from the IRA.
For charitably inclined IRA owners—especially those taking required payouts—QCDs can be a smart move. While there’s no deduction for the donation, the withdrawal doesn’t count as income, and that can help lower both income taxes and income-based Medicare premiums based on income. And donors can receive this charitable tax break even if they take the standard deduction.
QCDs may not be made to donor-advised funds.
As with appreciated stock, donations of crypto held longer than a year in a taxable account can also provide a deduction for its fair market value, while no tax is due on the appreciation.
One caveat: Mr. Katzenstein notes that unlike with stock, donors will need a formal, qualified appraisal of their donation if they want to deduct more than $5,000 of crypto. “This requirement is likely to trip up a lot of crypto donors,” he says.
Some taxpayers who claim the standard deduction following the 2017 tax overhaul can still reap a charitable tax break by “bunching” more than one year of charitable donations.
For example, say a married couple donates $10,000 a year. They have paid off their mortgage, so their total Schedule A deductions—state and local taxes (SALT) capped at $10,000 per return plus the $10,000 of donations—come to less than the standard deduction of $25,100 for joint filers for 2021.
That means they don’t get a tax break per se for their donations, other than the $600 allowed by Congress for 2021.
If this couple shifts their donations so that they give $20,000 one year and nothing the next, they will have a total of $30,000 in Schedule A deductions every second year. Itemizing for those years will yield a charitable tax break, and they’ll deduct more than $25,000 in the other years due to the standard deduction.
Note: The strategy’s math could change if Congress expands SALT deductions, which lawmakers have been discussing.
These popular charitable-giving accounts, which have seen huge growth in recent years, offer donors the ability to contribute cash, stock, cryptocurrencies or other property to a subaccount of an umbrella charity and take a charitable deduction in the year of the gift. The umbrella charity typically sells the asset to fund the donor’s account.
Later on, the donor can recommend amounts for distribution to specific charities. There’s no tax break at that point, but account assets can be invested and grow tax-free until then.
DAFs are often a useful tool for donors who want to give part or all of a windfall and deduct it in a year when income is high but who also need time to choose charity recipients. Other donors use them to bunch contributions, or to hold many smaller gifts they want to combine into one large donation. But check the account fees.
Anonymous Crypto Donors Are Changing Philanthropy
And winning a “quiet war” for donor privacy rights in the nonprofit sector, says the co-founder of The Giving Block.
In 2021, crypto users were crowned the most charitable investors on the planet. To those outside of crypto that might not mean much, but after years of reading hypocritical attack pieces from the traditional financial sector it’s pretty heartwarming to see the world acknowledge that we’re more generous than our critics.
Open Twitter today and you’ll find thousands of people tweeting about their crypto donations to charities. Enter “#CryptoGivingTuesday” in the search bar and you’ll see hundreds of charities thanking crypto and NFT projects donating millions of dollars to make our world more beautiful.
The crypto community understands that these donors (let’s call them Loud Crypto Donors) – with their Twitter Spaces, live streams, NFT drops and partnership announcements – are one of the most powerful forces behind the mainstream adoption of crypto, having won over millions of normies through by plastering their crypto giving initiatives all over the internet.
But these Loud Crypto Donors are only part of the picture. Behind the scenes, Private Crypto Donors are winning the quiet war for donor privacy rights in the nonprofit sector. As someone with a crypto fundraising platform, I want to tell you why this matters, a lot.
Why Does Donor Privacy Matter?
Before getting into crypto, I worked in the nonprofit sector. I learned a lot about what makes donors tick. I also learned about a magical concept called “donor stewardship,” using donor data to get donors to give bigger and more often.
If you’ve never worked for a nonprofit you wouldn’t know this, but fundraising costs nonprofits a lot of time, energy and money (and then donors get mad at this expense, calling it “overhead” … but don’t get me started).
Donor stewardship is important for nonprofits. Using data to target existing donors is easier than earning new ones, allowing them to spend less time and money fundraising.
The more than 1,000 nonprofits I’ve worked with directly have appeared to use this data ethically. Most simply collect it for fear of accepting an ISIS donation unknowingly (though expecting nonprofits to catch ISIS with their donor forms is like expecting Starbucks baristas to catch stolen credit cards before Visa can).
As a result, the nonprofit industry has developed an appetite for your data, collecting it and using “wealth screening” companies (that have become some of the fastest growing companies in the sector) to compare it against growing databases and determine how much money you have.
For a nonprofit trying to fundraising efficiently, these types of services are heaven-sent, helping them grow their budgets and their impact. Today, the majority of great charities don’t accept anonymous gifts since that’s the norm.
But if you’re like me, you probably don’t love the idea of the personal information you put in a donation form ending up on server farms designed to “steward” you into being more generous, even if it’s for a great cause. Furthermore, the ability to donate to charities anonymously empowers donors to support an important cause without fear of embarrassment or persecution.
Which Brings Us To Private Crypto Donors
The Real-World Impact Of Donor Privacy
Although interest in Crypto Philanthropy surged this year, it’s been around for years. Many of us remember the first major wave of Crypto Philanthropy during the 2017-18 bull market, with Ashton Kutcher donating crypto on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” (back when we still liked her) and a private donor created the Pineapple Fund, giving $55 million in bitcoin to 60 charities (the Pineapple Fund was our inspiration to start The Giving Block).
The Private Crypto Donor behind the Pineapple Fund pushed dozens of nonprofits to accept anonymous donations for the first time, many of whom received multimillion-dollar donors that transformed their organizations.
Shortly thereafter, I discovered the importance of Private Crypto Donors first hand when an LBGTQ charity we support received its first major crypto gift. It was a lot of money, and the nonprofit was confused about why one of their largest donors wouldn’t want credit for their gift. About a week later, we received a short note from the donor’s Protonmail.
He was a closeted gay man and, because he was afraid of having it tied back to him, he had never donated to an LGBTQ charity before. I’m not ashamed to admit that when we first began championing accepting gifts from Private Crypto Donors, I never considered any experience like the one this man was having.
I simply felt that donors deserved the opportunity to give without being pestered with mail or putting their personal information at risk. His story was the first of many.
Over the years, donor after donor has written to us thanking us for our anonymous option, with their stories opening our eyes to a range of human experiences that are often erased from the philanthropic experience.
These Private Crypto Donors are the most passionate philanthropists I’ve had the honor of meeting, from human rights actors fighting against oppressive regimes, to women in Afghanistan who could never get a male guardian to authorize an AFN donation from their bank account (you read that correctly – most women in Afghanistan can’t have their own bank account).
Fast forward to 2021 – crypto prices have hit all-time highs, and millions of crypto investors are learning about the tax advantages of donating crypto for the first time. This has driven millions of dollars into the nonprofit sector from Private Crypto Donors, including perhaps the most famous donation in our platform’s history.
In October, a donor took our Crypto Giving Pledge anonymously before donating $3.5 million in ether (ETH) to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF). The reason this donor wanted anonymity wasn’t quite as emotionally charged as other cases, but it was yet again an interesting human experience. They had made money in crypto – a lot of money – for the first time in their life.
To date, they had lived a quiet life and wanted to keep it that way. They weren’t willing to risk sharing their identity with a nonprofit whose marketing team could accidentally toss their gift into their social plan and, with a tweet, change the way their friends and family treated them forever. They came to us, donated anonymously, wrote a beautiful letter about MSF that left our team in tears, then vanished.
Since 2018, we’ve shared the (de-identified) stories of these Private Crypto Donors with the nonprofits we serve. As a result, over 90% of our nonprofits leave the anonymous option on in our widget, despite the fact that any of them can turn it off at any time.
Crypto is getting nonprofits into more than just blockchain – it’s getting them into privacy rights, as some of the biggest nonprofit brands are accepting anonymous donations for the first time to take advantage of the crypto trend.
Moral of the story
Though I understand the motivation of nonprofits that mandate donor information, I hope we continue to move toward the normalization of donor privacy.
Though data collection is helpful in reducing a charity’s fundraising expenses, nonprofits are creating unnecessary friction by forcing everyone to do so, and boxing out a lot of good human beings who deserve the right to support a great cause without sacrificing their right to privacy.
If you’re a Loud Crypto Donor who’s building big, flashy charitable crypto initiatives – thank you for your service as a crypto adoption warrior. If you’re a Private Crypto Donor, thank you both for your generosity and for your role protecting privacy rights in the nonprofit sector.
And if you’re a nonprofit that excludes anonymous giving in your gift acceptance policy, I hope this piece has at least convinced you to keep an open mind.
The Giving Block Launches Crypto Donation Service For High-Net Worth Individuals
Giving Block co-founder Pat Duffy said the service streamlines the platform’s existing donation process, allowing “high-value donors to quickly and securely give large gifts to their favorite charities while reducing their tax bill.”
The Giving Block, an online platform which allows nonprofit organizations and charities to accept digital asset donations, has launched a service tailored to donors wishing to send large amounts of crypto.
In a Wednesday announcement, the Giving Block said it partnered with crypto tax startup Taxbit, New York-based accounting firm Friedman LLP, and Ren to start a service aimed at individuals, institutions, and advisors looking to reduce their tax exposure when donating crypto.
Giving Block co-founder Pat Duffy said the Private Client Services streamlines its existing donation process allowing “high-value donors to quickly and securely give large gifts to their favorite charities while reducing their tax bill.”
According to the platform, individuals wishing to make large donations in crypto, including “illiquid small-cap and mid-cap cryptocurrencies” now have more opportunities to reduce their capital gains tax and potentially increasing deductions when it comes time to report to the IRS.
The Giving Block’s “high-value donors” have access to crypto tax experts, accounts, and appraisers to facilitate the transaction and subsequent reporting.
With many countries already celebrating the holidays this year, many have chosen to give to charity in addition to gifts for friends and family. Giving Block CEO Alex Wilson told Cointelegraph last week he expected the platform to handle more than $100 million in crypto donations for 2021, a more than 2,400% increase over $4 million the previous year.
Some trading platforms have already enabled the gifting of crypto this holiday season. Digital payments company Block announced on Tuesday that users of its subsidiary Cash App could send as little as $1 in Bitcoin (BTC) or stock as a gift in the same way they had been sending cash.
Fintech provider Unbanked said earlier this month it would be enabling crypto donations for Toys for Tots, a program run by the United States Marine Corps that collects toys to distribute to disadvantaged children.
Spreading Holiday Joy Through Charitable Giving With Cryptocurrency
Charitable crypto campaigns aim to give back this holiday season, demonstrating how effective cryptocurrency and NFT donations can be for donations.
The holidays are the perfect time of the year for giving back, and the rise of cryptocurrencies has created even more opportunities for charitable initiatives. This was highlighted during Giving Tuesday 2021, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving which saw over $2.4 million raised in cryptocurrency from the nonprofit fundraising platform The Giving Block.
As crypto philanthropy becomes a new subsector of the cryptocurrency economy, some in the industry believe that crypto donations will only continue to increase.
Alex Wilson, co-founder of The Giving Block, told Cointelegraph that last year the organization raised about $4 million in crypto donations, noting that this year, over $100 million in crypto donations will likely be received.
According to Wilson, this growth is partly due to the fact that donating crypto is more tax efficient than fiat donations. “Anyone who donates before December 31 is able to claim a deduction for the 2021 tax year. This is a great way to offset some of your gains.”
Wilson added that over 1,000 nonprofits currently accept crypto donations through The Giving Block, a few of which include St. Jude, Save the Children and United Way. “Next year, we have a lot of partnerships that are going live and we expect our growth to accelerate.
We’re estimating that we’ll process nearly $1 billion in donations next year and work with over 6,000 nonprofits.”
Cryptocurrency Giving Campaigns For The Holidays
While a number of nonprofits have started to accept crypto donations, it’s also notable that campaigns centered around cryptocurrency philanthropy are being launched this holiday season.
For example, in early December, Upbring Innovation Labs — a Texas-based organization seeking to advance technology in the nonprofit sector — launched the Give Big TX Crypto Fund. Ryan Park, vice president of innovation of Upbring, told Cointelegraph that the fund is a joint cryptocurrency campaign working with twelve Texas-based nonprofits:
“You can think of this as a ‘cause fund.’ The cause here is to make Texas a better place to live. This is also about showing nonprofits that they can adopt new Web 3.0 technologies to advance. The larger goal overall is to see Texas emerge as a leader in crypto philanthropy.”
Park shared that the Give Big TX Crypto campaign is partnering with organizations including Austin Pets Alive, Big Brothers Big Sisters Lonestar, Catholic Charities of Central Texas and eight other nonprofits.
He added that the Texas Blockchain Council — a 501 C (6) organization — is also part of this initiative given the group’s involvement in advancing blockchain throughout different industries in Texas.
Kelsey Driscoll, senior innovation program strategist at Upbring, further told Cointelegraph that the campaign will be accepting over 40 different types of cryptocurrencies for donations through Dec. 31, all of which are facilitated by The Giving Block.
“When donations are made, The Giving Block automatically converts them to United States dollars, so accepting crypto has been just as easy as accepting fiat donations, if not easier,” she remarked. Driscoll added that the subreddit group r/Bitcoin will be matching Bitcoin (BTC) donations when contributions are made to any of the charities supported by The Giving Block.
Pawthereum, a decentralized community-run project supporting animal shelters, has also launched a charitable cryptocurrency campaign this month. John Weathers, community manager for Pawthereum, told Cointelegraph that its 12 Days of Crypto Giving campaign allows for crypto donations to be made for specific projects that help animals in need.
The Pawthereum project was created as a fork of the meme cryptocurrency project Grumpy Cat Coin, which raised $70,000 in crypto funds for the Sterling Animal Shelter in Massachusetts.
Most recently, Pawthereum raised $25,000 through crypto donations for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, a San Francisco-based animal shelter caring for dogs with special needs. According to Weathers, close to $400,000 worth of crypto has been donated since the campaign was launched on Dec. 14.
Nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, are also being leveraged for donations this year. Given that the market growth for NFTs sales is expected to reach $17.7 billion by the end of 2021, this sector is launching one of the largest crypto charity events this season.
Known as Right-Click, Give!, this is an auction open to the public hosted on the NFT platform Opensea. The auction ran through Dec. 24, and all proceeds will be donated to Blankets of Hope, a charity that provides warm blankets to the homeless while also teaching kindness to children in school.
Mike Fiorito, co-founder of Blankets of Hope, told Cointelegraph that as an avid NFT collector, he is well aware of how welcoming the NFT community is as a whole. As such, he believes that more NFT-focused charitable campaigns will emerge.
“There are a lot of kind people in the NFT space that are making fortunes — no matter how big or small — and want to give back,” he said.
Park also pointed out that the Give Big TX Crypto campaign is allowing NFT artists to work directly with nonprofits to donate proceeds earned from minting nonfungible tokens. “Many artists doing NFT drops are looking to work with nonprofits and this is an opportunity to do so. We have two NFT projects donating proceeds from their mints to our fund.”
Will Charitable Crypto Campaigns Catch On?
Although there are currently only a handful of charitable crypto campaigns present, the benefits associated with cryptocurrency donations may result in mainstream adoption moving forward.
While U.S. donors don’t have to pay capital gains taxes on any crypto assets they donate to a registered nonprofit, there are other technological advantages.
For instance, Nawzad Amiri, community leader for Pawthereum, told Cointelegraph that the transparency provided by a blockchain network, along with the speed of transactions, is impressive when it comes to crypto donations versus fiat.
Moreover, statistics from The Giving Block found that crypto donors may be willing to contribute more to charity, noting that $11,000 is the average cryptocurrency donation size on The Giving Block. Donation data from Giving USA found that $737 was the average charity donation for Americans in 2020.
While the benefits may be clear to some, education seems to be the biggest challenge hampering adoption. For example, although Texas is growing into one of America’s biggest crypto capitals due to its friendly stance toward blockchain and mining power capabilities, Park shared that it has been challenging to bring Texas nonprofits on to the Give Big TX Crypto campaign:
“We reached out to about 60 nonprofits and are partnering with 12 total. It seems like this would have been a shoo-in but there is still a long way to go in terms of educating the world on the potential of crypto philanthropy.”
Another challenge worth mentioning is that while NFT’s may appear as ideal donation assets, there is uncertainty regarding tax deductions. Fiorito explained that he is still trying to determine if donating NFTs is considered a tax-deductible event.
“This is a cloudy area because we are so early in the NFT space,” he commented. Due to this uncertainty, the Right-Click, Give! Auction is also accepting cryptocurrency donations through The Giving Block.
Challenges aside, it’s clear that crypto philanthropy has opened a new door of opportunities to a generation eager to give back. For instance, Park pointed out that the donor base for many of the nonprofits partnering with the Give Big TX Crypto campaign is over the age of 70.
According to statistics from The Giving Block, the average age of crypto users is 38 years old, as Wilson added:
“The people donating here are individuals that live and breathe Web 3.0 or that have held crypto for a long time. A big piece of this now is just educating those people that this opportunity exists.”
Progressive Group Adopts Bitcoin As ING And Paypal Block Donations
Progressive International made another case for Bitcoin as a tool for circumventing the traditional financial system.
Progressive International, a global organization supporting progressive left-wing activists and organizers, is moving into cryptocurrencies in response to getting de-banked by major payment and banking firms.
The organization took to Twitter on Monday to announce that it now accepts donations in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) to defend itself against attempts to shut them out of the global financial system.
A spokesperson for Progressive International told Cointelegraph that Dutch ING Bank and payment giant PayPal blocked donations to the organization as well as their campaign of solidarity with Cuba to help vaccinate people against COVID-19. Per the representative, ING and PayPal were “acting in support of the United States embargo.”
The vaccination campaign, which was announced last month, aimed to spotlight the Cuban government’s progress with developing vaccines for COVID-19 and host a panel of experts to showcase their efforts.
“Progressive International relies on small donations from the public to fund our work,” the representative noted, adding:
“As a defence against attempts to shut us out of the international financial system, we are now also accepting donations in cryptocurrencies as well as fiat currencies. We are grateful for the donations we have received in cryptocurrencies.”
The spokesperson went on to say that this is the first time that the organization enabled donations in crypto. “We plan to continue to accept donations in crypto to support our work, not limited to Cuba, and may expand into other currencies where appropriate,” the person said.
The representative said that the organization will update its website to include information about crypto donations soon.
At the time of writing, Progressive International announced on Twitter that the BTC wallet address has collected a total of 0.008 BTC ($307), while the ETH wallet address holds 0.715 ETH ($1,979).
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