The Next Big Thing: Cryptocurrency Donationsby Fintechnews Switzerland June 28, 2018
2017 was undeniably the year of cryptocurrencies, with the overall market capitalization reaching more than US$350 billion towards the end of that year.
While cryptocurrencies are often perceived as a way to make a quick buck for the average individual, these have also proved to be something donation-based associations and non-profits need to take seriously.
Donations in cryptocurrencies have surged in volume in recent months. A Fidelity Charitable report released in February found that donors contributed nearly US$70 million in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to their favorite causes through the organization.
This amounts to a nearly ten-fold increase from the US$7 million that people donated the previous year, says Fidelity Charitable, an independent charitable arm of the Fidelity investment bank that helps supports more than 255,000 non-profits.
Now even places of worship have begun accepting cryptocurrencies. In May, the Shacklewell Lane Mosque in Hackney, London became the first in the world to accept Bitcoin donations.
Recently, non-profit the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) began accepting cryptocurrency donations, supporting Bitcoin and four other cryptocurrencies. Founded in 2012, FPF funds and supports free speech and freedom of the press.
FPF is most famous for breaking the WikiLeaks financial blockade and developing SecureDrop, the open-source whistleblower submission system originally created by American computer programmer, entrepreneurs and Internet hacktivist Aaron Swartz.
Cryptocurrencies are digital assets designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses strong cryptography to secure financial transactions, control the creation of additional units and verify the transfer of assets. Cryptocurrencies use decentralized control as opposed to centralized electronic money and central banking systems. They are not linked to any government and have proved to be a good alternative to organizations such as WikiLeaks to bypass financial blockade.
“Decentralized technology has great potential to advance the ability of individuals to resist surveillance and censorship,” the organization said in a release.
Earlier this week, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) unveiled a partnership with Swiss blockchain startup Proxeus to put donations on the blockchain.
The project, which will start with a prototype blockchain-powered donation confirmation engine, seeks to develop a platform that would empower consumers to donate more easily all the while reducing administration costs associated with processing these donations.
Thomas Vellacott, CEO of WWF Switzerland, noted the potential of blockchain technology to improve efficiency and save on costs.
“[Blockchain technology] has considerable potential to streamline processes in fundraising and administration, and to scale up our conservation impact,” Vellacott said in a statement. “WWF is motivated to test real-life applications of blockchain in different areas of our work.”
Another leading non-profit that’s jumped on the cryptocurrency bandwagon is UNICEF. But unlike others, the organization has opted for another method than direct donations in cryptocurrencies. Instead, UNICEF allows people to donate to a cause by mining Monero cryptocurreny while they browse. The cryptocurrencies mined are then automatically donated to UNICEF.
Despite all the recent headlines, donations have actually been, since the very beginning, one of the key use cases for cryptocurrencies.
In 2013, non-profit the BitGive Foundation began helping other non-profits accept donations in Bitcoin and shortly after, a handful a major names announced they would trial the ideal.
Featured image via Pixabay.