Exploring the potential for cryptocurrency in philanthropy

 

Jack Burgess

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What exactly are cryptocurrencies? Hundreds of coins with names such as Ripple, Bitcoin and Ethereum have sprouted up over the last few years, developing a cult-like following among the tech-savvy, and who’s values have notoriously gone through wild swings.

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are most easily described as a new form of digital-only currency. They can be held online by anybody and can be sent or received to any location around the world swiftly and with minimal cost. The blockchain, the underlying technology of all cryptocurrencies, is a revolutionary technology that offers for the first time an online ‘ledger’ which enables all transactions made to be tracked and viewable by the public.

Newfound wealth to tap for philanthropic causes
Due to the recent leaps in value of these cryptocurrencies over the last few years, the total market value now totals over $300 billion at the time of writing. This newly created wealth opens new opportunities for charities around the world to explore.

A 2018 report from Global NGO stated that only 1% of NGOs are setup to accept Bitcoin, the most well-known and valuable cryptocurrency. However, the report concluded that this acceptance rate is likely to increase over the next few years, and now some of the largest charities globally are starting to take note. The likes of UNICEF, Save the Children and the Against Malaria Foundation have all started accepting crypto donations.

A number of crypto-focused organisations have also started entering the charity space. A charitable campaign dubbed “Airdrop Venezuela” recently formed to enable the direct transfer of $1 million in cryptocurrency donations to the country’s citizens. Another company, blockchain-powered project GiveTrack, backed by the non-profit organisation BitGive, was formed with the objective to let donors trace transactions on a public platform in real time, thus being aware of the final destination of their donations.

The future
As ownership and acceptance of digital currencies becomes more commonplace, crypto-philanthropy will continue to become a larger part of charitable giving moving forward.

Prism the Gift Fund, a UK registered charity that administers the giving of HNW individuals, has been working with a payment partner to enable the acceptance of cryptocurrency donations; effectively enabling donors to be able to donate their crypto assets to any UK registered charity. Cryptocurrency is underutilised within the philanthropy sector, and it is time that philanthropists and charities come together with social entrepreneurs, blockchain visionaries and technologists to collectively discuss the direction of crypto-philanthropy moving forward.

Jack Burgess, Prism the Gift Fund


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