Charities accept cryptocurrencies and NFTs

Seeking donations to support their work, some charities and nonprofits have started accepting cryptocurrency funds and are even experimenting with NFTs. And while some charities have found these new forms of digital currency and goods a useful way to raise funds and awareness, not all projects have been well received by supporters.

What is clear is that there seems to be a certain enthusiasm for contributing to good causes via cryptocurrencies.

According to the annual report of The Giving Blockwhich allows potential donors to easily donate different types of crypto, the total annual volume of crypto donations on the platform increased by 1,558% in 2021, compared to 2020.

The average cryptocurrency donation is around $10,455, compared to the average cash donation of $128, or 82 times more value per transaction. The Giving Block currently helps more than 1,000 nonprofits, charities, universities, and faith-based organizations of all sizes accept cryptocurrency donations, and claims to have helped them raise millions of dollars.

Saving orangutans with NFTs

Orangutan Outreach is one such organization that uses The Giving Block’s platform to collect cryptocurrency donations. The mission of this non-profit organization is to protect, rescue and help rehabilitate endangered orangutans. Rich Zimmerman, Founder and Chief Executive, said 2021 marked a turning point in the organization’s stance on cryptocurrency donations.

“We started accepting crypto around the start of 2020 and saw very little overlap between our traditional donor base and our crypto donor base,” he said. “The crypto space is welcoming a new class of people, many of whom are interested and care about issues and actually donate. »

But Rich Zimmerman said what really sparked their crypto journey was when the NFT pioneer Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) made a series of donations last summer that represented the largest contribution to Orangutan Outreach in the history of the association. These donations have sparked increased interest in the NFT space, and julius was born.

“Julius is our ‘Bored Ape’ ambassador and has become our representative and avatar on all of our social media, bringing our name to people who may never have heard of us or what we do,” said said Rich Zimmerman.

He clarified that Julius is privately owned and was not purchased by Orangutan Outreach and that the NFT cartoon monkey is used strictly for marketing and fundraising purposes. Julius spearheads the initiative ‘Bored in Borneo’ Initiativewhich involves orangutan conservation and massive reforestation work in Borneo.

Energy-intensive donations

The Giving Block report indicates that NFTs could be the biggest development of 2021 for charities and cryptocurrencies, with over $12.3 million in donations from known NFT projects. Orangutan Outreach is not alone in accepting cryptocurrencies, other charities like UNICEF, Save the Children and others have also started accepting cryptocurrency donations, as have the top 10 charities listed in the list of 100 best American charities of 2021 according to Forbes.

However, cryptocurrency donations have received some backlash due to the massive amounts of energy used by blockchain mining. For example, the annual electricity consumption to power bitcoin alone would amount to 134 TWh.

“We are aware that there are problems and we hope that the technology will continue to improve,” says Rich Zimmerman. “However, we see crypto as a source of income, and we don’t have the luxury of saying no to someone who wants to adopt an orangutan with Ethereum,” he adds. “Education and awareness is how we approach the NFT space,” says Rich Zimmerman. “There are people who want to do good with the money they have, and we have to recognize that. »

Recently, the UK division of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has also started to sell endangered species themed NFTs to fund conservation efforts. The move drew backlash almost immediately on social media, and the organization decided to stop selling NFTs soon after.

“This work with NFTs was planned as a trial to test a new fundraising stream. We have agreed with our partners to end it,” a WWF spokesperson said. “We recognize that NFTs are a hotly debated issue and we all have a lot to learn about this new market, which is why we will now fully assess the impact of this trial and consider how best to continue innovating to engage our supporters. »

And just before that, in January, the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation said it would “pause” the ability to accept cryptocurrency donations after one of its founders criticized its willingness to to accept “planet-burning” cryptocurrencies.

Nano, Ripple and Cardano in the eco-friendly camp

Riley Adams, a certified public accountant and senior financial analyst at Google, told ZDNet that there are ways for charities to circumvent the unethical implications of cryptocurrencies. “If concerns are mounting for the environmental problems posed by cryptocurrencies, actively pre-screening which cryptocurrencies a charity will accept based on their environmental impact can virtuously signal their aversion to pollution while accepting financial resources for their efforts,” said Riley Adams. “Choose which parts [de cryptomonnaie] accepting or refusing makes it possible to circumvent the environmental concerns posed by certain parts. »

For example, there are “eco-friendly” cryptocurrencies like Nano, Ripple and Cardano which use less energy than cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Additionally, Ethereum is currently working on upgrading its system towards a proof-of-stake that uses less energy than the proof-of-work method used by blockchain, by the second quarter of this year.

Riley Adams added that cryptocurrencies are just another method of storing value that can be liquidated to fund charitable causes. “Cryptocurrency donations are inevitable as more people become interested in this asset class and tap into an inner need to give back to charity,” he said.

Rich Zimmerman also sees cryptocurrency as an inevitable asset, not just to his organization, but to the nonprofit world as well. Just as PayPal changed the game in fundraising by allowing online donations rather than sending cash and checks in the mail, he says, cryptocurrency is doing the same thing. “Crypto is here to stay,” he said. “As we like to say at Orangutan Outreach, crypto is the key that unlocks the cages. »


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Charities accept cryptocurrencies and NFTs

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