How Bitcoin Impacts Charity, and Why It’s Cool
Charity and nonprofit organizations, contrary to traditional entities, gradually embrace cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology. This move has more or less evident justification. Blockchain technology may revolutionize the way various charitable efforts work, and change it for the better.
Pros and Cons of Cryptocharity
First, it’s simple and convenient for the receiving party. Most charity organizations nowadays have to deal with donations from different countries, and moving of funds around the world in traditional finance has always been a nuisance. Blockchain technology, known for its capability of reducing operational costs and accelerating money transfer, not to mention its transparency, may cause the world of charity to change. On the other hand, not all NPO’s are aware of those capabilities, and, as it usually happens, may be simply afraid of using the new technology.
Second, cryptocurrency transactions are equally convenient for the donators. However, there are no attached bonuses from the state, like tax remissions, in case of using Bitcoin. At least, nowadays. In addition, bitcoin is more or less anonymous, and the generous gesture may remain unknown.
“I admit there’s some distrust of cryptocurrency-related funds, as they are not regulated. That’s quite reasonable. The basic idea behind cryptocurrency is anonymity and lack of regulators. As it seems, it doesn’t meet the operation rules of modern charity efforts. In addition, I assume, the philantropes aren’t interested in remaining anonymous. Such things require publicity all the time,” Maxim Krupyshev, COO at Cubits.com told ForkLog.
However, according to Bitnovosti’s editor-in-chief Viktor Fomin, most donators preferred anonymity at their own discretion, when the site was running a crowdfunding campaign for a documentary on Bitcoin. The project has attracted nearly 30 BTC.
Bitcoin transactions may become preferable to those willing to help with a small amount, as microtransactions in traditional systems may be quite expensive due to minimum thresholds and fees inherent therein.
Cryptophilantropes Among Us
Maxim Krupyshev told ForkLod their startup had been trying to promote the idea that bitcoin donations might have become a regular form of charity.
“As COO of Cubits, I may say that we attempted to promote bitcoin charity in masses for numerous occasions. We partntered with Europe’s biggest fund aggregator Wikando. We launched our own project to let users from around the world help Syrian refugees with bitcoin. Unfortunately, we never receieved even one tenth of what we had been expecting. Yes, there was a lot of media coverage and posts in social networks. However, there were few donated bitcoins at the end of the day,” he said.
Still, RosKomSvoboda’s head Artyom Kozlyuk thinks, crowdfunding tools for various projects, including those social, are quite demanded. Cryptocurrencies, he says, may be a very promising solution in this regard.
“It’s a well-established fact that micro-sponsorship with e-money just works. The most important thing here is that the project requiring support must be of interest to the target audience, help solve major problems, and intend to change some parts of our lives for the better. Using cryptocurrencies for such activities is quite acceptable and promising. However, there might be some problems with that in Russia, as bitcoin’s legal status isn’t determined yet, and everything shows there’s a little chance for its adequate regulation and/or legalization. However, the internet is borderless, so cryptocurrencies and its transactions, including those charitable, won’t go anywhere,” Kozlyuk believes.
While in fact Bitcoin donations are not so popular these days, some of our readers have already used cryptocurrency for good purposes. One of ForkLog readers, Apollinari Dragobitski, shared his experience:
“There’s a Kyiv-based volunteer group helping refugees from the East and their children. And they accept donations. And once a child got burnt, and needed medicines for nearly a thousand hryvnias. On the other hand, an artist from England that I know, decided to make me a present. It was a picture with a dragon playing with a bitcoin. She intended to sell it for 33 pounds. Eventually, I contacted the volunteer group’s administrator, told her about Bitcoin, and transferred a Bitcoin equivalent of 33 pounds (which was nearly 1,000 hryvnias at the time) so that they could buy medicines for the boy.”
Another ForkLog reader, Kir Kelevra, bitcoin entrepreneur, enthusiast and trader, says bitcoin donations are simpler, easier and safer than those with a plastic card.
“Transaction anonymity may play an important role here, as the donator might not be interested in going public. Moreover, it’s way more convenient. You just launch your favorite wallet on your smartphone, scan the QR code, press “send”, and that’s it. When it’s a card, first you have to find the most appropriate one, then input its data while being nervous about their safety, then go to merchants’ pages, and mess with SMS all the time. In a word, it’s too messy. For that reason, I see lots of advantages here, but only when cryptocurrencies become an essential part of our lives,” he said.
Notably, ForkLog works at its own expense and donations from our readers most of the time. During the project’s existence we have received nearly 15 BTC overall, and they did save our editorial board from famishment. The whole editorial board is especially grateful to an anonymous donator, who transfers 1 BTC every month. Thank you very much indeed, friend.
Existing Bitcoin Charities
Examples of crypto-based charitable efforts are numerous, and span from elements of traditional acceptance to dedicated innovative solutions.
- Last year, Barclays announced it intended to support bitcoin as an alternate payment solution for charitable purposes as of early 2016.
- A Ghana-based startup Beam managed to use Bitcoin in order to fight ebola on site, in Sierra Leone. Their project dubbed Bitcoin Against Ebola allows Africans to use bitcoin for money transfers via their mobile phones.
- One of the world’s most famous non-profit organizations, Greenpeace, has also announced its American affiliation would accept bitcoin donations with assistance from BitPay.
- Another major charitable organization, United Way Worldwide, which is focused on education and health issues, has also stated it embraces cryptocurrency.
- Another NPO, The Water Project, Inc., engaged in water supply to people inhabiting Sahara, has launched a project to build water wells in the desert. The organization’s program The Water Promise combines hi-tech monitoring methods with personal involvement of hired maintenance operators. The organization accepts bitcoin donations and distributes them among all 42 sensors controlled by the NPO.
- BitHope.org, a Bulgaria-based project, is Europe’s first crowdfunding site dedicated to helping non-profit charity organizations. It involves bitcoin holders in charitable efforts.
- However, last year UNICEF has created so-called Unicoin, a digital currency that had been developed by the organization in cooperation with H&M Conscious Foundation as a part of the Global Programme for Education. The currency was intended for children who wish to help other children in learning. The only way to spend a Unicoin was to buy educational supplies for handicapped children. While Unicoin may be a digital currency, but hardly a cryptocurrency, there are altcoins dedicated to charitable efforts.
- There is Counterpary-based Charitycoin (XCC) with maximum issuance limit of 100,000,000. The coin is created once a donation is confirmed. It, however, implies using Bitcoin for the donation in the first place. A user who had donated some amount in Bitcoin, has to send the transaction ID to Charitycoin’s team to receive an equal amount of Charitycoins.
- Another cryptocurrency-related charity project is Doabitofgood.com, which creates bitcoin-mining screensavers for charities. Once a user downloads and runs the screensaver, it will start creating bitcoins and send them to the charity of the user’s choice.
Notably, donations in Bitcoin may not only do good deeds to those in need, they may profit Bitcoin as well. The cryptocurrency suffering from ill image of money with a vast fan club of terrorists and drug dealers. The cryptocurrency could benefit from recognition by renowned charity organizations. However, most importantly, it may serve good cause.
by Jenny Aysgarth & Tanya Otter
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