The rise (and fall, and rise again, and fall again!) of cryptocurrencies has been making the news since late in 2017, but with more and more fintech companies making headlines and significant profits, could we be seeing the rise of the cryptocurrency philanthropists in 2018?
Could crypto-donors be the next big thing in philanthropy?
Crypto Startup Ripple Donates $29 Million
Ripple, the company behind the XRP digital asset recently donated $29 million of its proprietary currency to funding programs for public schools. In a statement, Ripple noted that this was the largest cryptocurrency donation to a single charity. The charity, DonorsChoose.org is a platform where educators can list classroom projects and programs that require funding. Ripple was able to fulfill thousands of individual educator requests via the non-profit organization and the donation will be utilized to purchase classroom equipment and materials for over 28,000 teachers in 50 states.
The request to Ripple was sent by Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org who noted, “To my own shock, they said yes. It was mind-blowing that it would be the largest donation of cryptocurrency.”
This may have been the first crypto-donation on this scale, but it certainly won’t be the last from Ripple, which noted that this donation was part of an effort to formalize a broader social outreach program.
Pineapple Fund – Bitcoin Philanthropy
While Ripple may be the largest donor to a single charity, back in December 2017, an anonymous donor started a non-profit organization called the Pineapple Fund. Since December, the fund has given away over 5,000 bitcoin (BTC) which equates to around $86 million. To date, $55 million has been disbursed to over 60 non-profits and charities like The Water Project, charity:water, ACLU, Sens Research Foundation and Hearts & Homes for Refugees.
Non-Profits Start Accepting Cryptocurrency
There are a lot of charities that have not considered the value of accepting donations in digital currencies, but the ones that do have seen a significant increase in giving over the last year. Fidelity Charitable started accepting crypto-donations in 2015 and though it started off slowly, in 2017 alone, the charity received over $69 million in cryptocurrency from 169 donors. The growth in crypto-donations via bitcoin and ether, has been over 140% faster than any other type of donation to the organization. United Way, which is one of the world’s largest privately held charitable organizations, started accepting bitcoin to its Innovation Fund which helps mobilize resources in technology projects.
Fintech Companies – Helping Non-Profits Save Money
Fintech, the technology that helps consumers pay for goods, manage investments and receive loans, is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and making sure that non-profits are able to take advantage of donations via digital assets has been spearheaded by fintech companies like Coinbase and BitGive. Coinbase waives all fees for 501(c) non-profit organizations that accept philanthropic donations using bitcoin on the Coinbase merchant services platform. It’s an important step taken by one of the world’s largest fintech companies that can save a charitable organization a lot of money. Overhead costs on transaction fees are often crippling for smaller non-profits.
Despite the fluctuation (often not that different to regular currencies), digital currencies are here to stay. The rise of cryptocurrency companies and the explosion of the fintech industry means only good things for philanthropy in 2018.