Top five charities using cryptocurrencies

Charities are increasingly turning to cryptocurrencies to boost their income as well as cut costs.

To offer flexibility to supporters many charities are offering the option to give donations using cryptocurrencies.

These have been developed over the last decade using blockchain technology, which allows digital information to be distributed in a more transparent way that can help cut fraud.

Among the most commonly known cryptocurrencies is Bitcoin, while others include: Ethereum, Binance Coin, Litecoin, Cardano, Polkadot and Stellar.

According to the current market price one Bitcoin is worth £41,660.

Their emergence presents considerable opportunities to boost income through donations, through an increasingly popular form of currency that can be safely and easily transferred.

A key benefit is that cryptocurrencies are decentralised. This means they are used by those involved in the transaction rather than a centralised government. Costs can therefore be lower than dealing with traditional currency, that require third party financial firms and banks that charge fees.

Further cost savings are involved too. They are not linked to geography so currency conversion costs are reduced.

Another benefit is transparency through blockchain technology. This makes it easy for those in the chain to seen when changes are made and to trace transactions. For donors this gives them the benefit of seeing through the blockchain how money is being used by the charity and which projects are benefitting.

However, this emerging form of finance is not without challenges.

While the money involved can be traced, the donations themselves can be anonymised easily.

This makes it difficult for charities to see who is donating and presents an ethical challenge in ensuring the are not accepting money from a donor who is involved in criminal activity or is involved in activity against a charity’s core beliefs.

Another challenge is the environmental cost of producing cryptocurrency. This ‘mining’ process takes up considerable computer and data processing costs and time. Increasing the use of renewable energy in this process would help this emerging form of currency appeal more to charities.

Here we look at some of the charities that are already giving supporters the option to donate using this emerging form of currency.

Children’s Heart Unit Fund receives largest cryptocurrency donation

Last year the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) received a cryptocurrency donation of £38,000, which is believed to be the largest cryptocurrency donation to a UK charity.

This came from two donors from the US, one anonymous, for the health charity’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The sum was donated via the online platform The Giving Block, which is more widely used in the US rather than the UK.

One of the donors Dan Bainbridge said: “I was a heart operation baby and have been personally supported by CHUF all of my life.

“I’ve always wanted to give back and now working in cryptocurrency I saw an opportunity to help CHUF get setup to accept cryptocurrency donations (bitcoin and ethereum) online.”

CHUF’s director of fundraising and operations Charlotte Campbell added: “We are beyond grateful and really overwhelmed by this generosity in our time of need. We never expected to receive a donation of this amount and we are incredibly thankful to Dan, our mystery donor and The Giving Block for making this happen.”

The Giving Block says that while large donations from corporate donors are common “it is rare to see donations of this size from individual givers”.

CHUF is currently accepting donations using a raft of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin Litecoin, Zcash, Gemini Dollar, Basic Attention Token and Chainlink.

Helping Households Under Great Stress wants to be "ahead of the curve"

Helping Households Under Great Stress (HHUGS) was the fist Muslim charity in the UK to accept Bitcoin donations to ensure “we are ahead of the curve”, according to the organisation, which supports families impacted by counter-terrorism, national security and extremism related laws.

“We hope through such an innovative currency as Bitcoin that we can open up new avenues for people to support HHUGS and reach new donors and supporters,” it adds.

“From our observation of future trends, it seems likely that we will receive digital currency as a donation at some point and we want to be prepared for that eventuality.”

The charity offers donors the chance to donate using its bitcoin wallet. It is accepting any amoung of Bitcoin, from 0.0005 BTC, which is currently equivalent to £20.

RNLI offers supporters the chance to donate using Bitcoin

Another charity to offer supporters the chance to donate using a Bitcoin wallet is the RNLI, which was one of the first in the UK to give supporters this option.

“Bitcoin is an innovative new kind of currency and we believe that accepting Bitcoin will result in donations we may not otherwise receive, as well as connecting us with new types of supporters,” says the charity.

“Also, from our research into future trends, it looks likely that we will receive digital currency as a donation and/or as part of a legacy at some point and we want to be prepared for that eventuality.”

Save the Children reacts to global events swiftly through cryptocurrency

Among the benefits of cryptocurrency donations is that they can be used by international aid charities digitally and swiftly through blockchain technology.

Save the Children
is among the pioneers of encouraging cryptocurrency donations, having accepted Bitcoin since 2013.

It now accepts multiple forms of cryptocurrencies, also including Ethereum, ZCash, Litecoin and Basic Attention Token and uses the findraising platforms The Giving Block and Gemini Trust Exchange.

According to the global charity: “Adding this emerging donation type is a first step in learning more about how blockchain technologies can help us do more to reach the most marginalized children in the world.”

Turing Trust embraces digital currencies

It is apt that the Turing Trust, named after pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing, has embraced digital currencies.

It is accepting Bitcoin and Litecoin donations for its work to help tackle digital exclusion among disadvantaged students in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Cryptocurrencies have grown massively over recent years and we hope that by accepting Bitcoin and Litecoin donations we can engage with a wider audience and receive donations from those who prefer to donate using digital currencies,” says the Trust.

It adds: “We are passionate about our mission to help bridge the digital divide in Africa. As an organisation with such close links to Alan Turing it seems appropriate to engage as much as possible with current technologies for fund-raising and furthering our work.”

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