With COVID-19 relief becoming a major necessity in the long string of causes people are fighting for, the world of philanthropy is set to benefit from the increased transparency of bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrency donations – with BTC and fiat remaining the most popular currencies to donate on the bitcoin-based non-profit organization BitGive. The platform has seen an ‘influx of donations’ at the time when non-profits look to ‘dip their toes’ in crypto, said the founder.
According to BitGive’s founder, Connie Gallippi, the organization she leads first started to accept cryptocurrency because they wanted to make “donating to these causes available to everyone,” with crypto donations seen as a natural step for opening up participation to a broader audience.
The platform currently accepts over 60 different crypto and fiat currencies. Among the various payment options, Gallippi told Cryptonews.com that their most popular forms of donation remain bitcoin and fiat currency.
“We are always looking for ways to be more inviting to donors by including various different cryptocurrencies and methods of payment. The more options we provide for donating, while staying within regulatory restrictions, helps the projects be more accessible to donors.”
BitGive recently celebrated its seventh birthday, and it describes itself as the first bitcoin and blockchain-backed US 501(c)3 non-profit. It is currently running three campaigns for COVID-19 relief in the US, Africa, and Latin America.
And although donation figures for the individual campaigns remain relatively modest – BitGive’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund has until the time of writing collected BTC 1.35 (USD 15,853) in total donations – most campaigns featured on the organization’s website seem to be reaching their fundraising goals.
‘Unprecedented level of transparency’
Despite crypto certainly being helpful in opening up for participation from new groups of donors, however, Gallippi admits that staying on top of all the relevant regulations is a challenge for a non-profit dealing with cryptocurrencies.
Still, the founder stated that her organization doesn’t just accept crypto as a gimmick or to get more publicity. On the contrary, she says bitcoin in particular brings unparalleled security and transparency to the world of philanthropy with its open and distributed ledger technology, where transactions can be verified by anyone.
“All donations made on [flagship giving platform] GiveTrack are public and completely transparent, allowing for anyone to see the journey of donations from start to finish,” Gallippi said about the way the non-profit’s donation tracking platform works.
She also reiterated that crypto is far superior to fiat for this purpose:
“Compared to donating in fiat, donating in crypto gives donors an unprecedented level of transparency into the journey of their donation,” the non-profit founder said, adding that “more traditional ways non-profits transfer funds still have long wait times, vulnerability to fraud, high fees, limited access to financial services, and a lack of transparency.”
‘Influx of donations’
But in order to effectively work with cryptocurrencies, the financial infrastructure for doing so must also be in place, both for those who donate and for BitGive’s many NGO partners on the receiving end.
To facilitate this, the organization has just recently integrated its website with the crypto-native wallet solution from BitGo, a provider of digital asset financial services. The new hosted wallet solution is meant to bring multi-signature security and multi-user policy controls, among other things.
And while a digital wallet in and of itself does not necessarily bring in more money, Connie Gallippi told Cryptonews.com that their NGO partners have already reported “better transparency into donations,” and that an “influx of new donations” in BTC have been seen since BitGo’s wallet solution was made available.
At the same time the BitGo wallet integration was announced in early August, BitGive launched two new NGO partner campaigns: Save The Children México and Wild Tomorrow Fund. Both have seen an influx of donations and gathered more than USD 1,000 in BTC, the BitGive founder said.
Non-profits looking to ‘dip their toes’ in crypto
At the moment, BitGive has 24 NGO partners, from more than 20 countries, which includes projects in countries like Venezuela, Argentina, and Jamaica – some of whom have done multiple projects and campaigns with the platform, with nearly 40,000 beneficiaries impacted, said the founder.
Like many others bringing crypto to more traditional industries, Gallippi is also optimistic about what the future holds for charities more broadly, saying that despite charitable crypto donations still being a nascent concept, “a number of non-profit organizations are looking to dip their toes into accepting crypto.”
“The NGOs we have worked with over the years are excited about the opportunity to appeal to a new audience and also to learn more about the cutting-edge, new technology for donating and moving funds globally with speed, lower costs, and transparency,” the non-profit founder said.
She concluded with an advice for the crypto industry as they try to win over more non-profits:
“I think more nonprofits would embrace cryptocurrencies and blockchain if there was a higher degree of funding to be had, as well as making the technology easier to approach and use, in addition to reducing regulatory and accounting barriers.”
While BitGive must abide by U.S. sanctions and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations, their services are available in most countries and territories. The platform will be announcing more campaigns later this year, “and we look forward to the community’s support of these important projects, as they join the cryptocurrency space,” Gallippi said.