Crypto Charities and Donations: Embrace The Gift of Giving
When looking back over the past few years, it’s safe to say that at least for those who invested in major cryptocurrencies it’s been a profitable time. Bitcoin has been named the best-performing asset of the decade and Ethereum is up well over its pre-2021 highs. Now if you’re one of the lucky ones to have invested in these and sold in profit, you might be thinking of something to do with all the money. What I would suggest and what I think each and every one of us should do if in a position where it’s possible is donating some to those in need.
There’re so many people in this world in need of help and I think it’s all our responsibility to take care of those in need. By all means we should enjoy our success and not try to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders but when you make money it’s important to give back. It’s also important for the sake of the whole cryptocurrency sector. There’s so much negativity surrounding the space whether it be about environmental concerns or that only criminals use cryptos. That’s why we need to rise above and show the world wrong by doing some good. Also, Christmas is coming up and what better gift than the gift of giving.
To make this easier for you to choose where to give and how to donate I’ve gathered a small list with both crypto native charities as well as traditional players accepting cryptos. Also, I’ve included some ways to send crypto to your friends and family in order for you to bootstrap their crypto journey too.
The Giving Block
The Giving Block is a nonprofit organization founded in 2018 by Alex Wilson and Pat Duffey. After the 2017-2018 bull market they saw the need for a way to make it easy for nonprofits to accept crypto donations. Since then, they have without question become the number 1 crypto native charity platform that provides an important service.
The Giving Block allows nonprofits to register at the site and start accepting donations in cryptocurrency. What’s great for nonprofits is that most of the time crypto donations are cheaper for them than traditional ways. For donors there are a few particularly great features which separates The Giving Block from many traditional charities. When donating you can naturally directly give to a nonprofit of your choice on the site, or you can choose to donate to The Giving Block’s crypto adoption fund or crypto cause fund. These automatically distribute the funds to those included in the fund. The first includes all US-based nonprofits from the site and the cause funds depend on which you choose to donate to. Those who have donated or even thought about donating know the struggle of deciding where to donate when there are infinite possibilities, thankfully The Giving Block Solves this. And, although the funds are distributed to US-based nonprofits they have a global impact. Many of the nonprofits aim at solving global problems.
If you're someone that needs a special occasion to donate The Giving Block provides that to you. The Giving Block organizes different campaigns including #TheGivingTuesday and #NFTuesday. I’ll talk later about NFTs but a few words about The Giving Tuesday. This year it was organized on the 30th of November, it's meant to become a yearly thing to get people to donate. This year there was an astonishing amount donated, a total of $2.4 million and there were more than a thousand nonprofits participating, up from just 120 a year ago.
Another feature on The Giving Block is they have great tools to help you with taxes. In some cases, you can lower your tax liability by donating. However, keep in mind that The Giving Block is based in the US and the tax laws are different in each country, so make sure to check which things apply to your country. Still, it's a great feature for those who are looking to get some personal gain when doing good.
Lastly about this site, if you’re thinking about donating here, you’ll be happy to hear that they support a wide variety of cryptos. These include big names like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and USDC as well as some smaller coins like metaverse projects Mana and Sand. So, if you had some money in the metaverse tokens before the big rise then maybe donating some Mana or Sand would be nice to do.
Giveth is another crypto native project that has a few features I like and wanted to highlight. First of all, anyone can create a project here to raise funding for a cause. This can be risky since certain people could just be scamming to try and get easy money. However, since Giveth uses the Ethereum blockchain they can trace the funds donated to verified projects. This is great and solves one of the biggest problems in traditional charities and donations.
The second great feature I wanted to point out is about Giveth’s structure. Giveth is open-source and governed by a DAO and the GIV token holders. You receive GIV tokens when donating, which means you become part of the community and can stake your tokens in order to receive additional rewards. However, for a project like this I don’t see earning rewards as the main driver. Rather you get to participate on the ground level in a growing philanthropy project. Giveth has an active discord group and they urge people to join and discuss ideas.
This project, although being in early stages, really solves many problems of traditional entities and takes philanthropy to a whole new level. I believe that a project like this has tremendous opportunity to grow since there is a huge underlying demand for the afore mentioned traceability. The community governance is also great and that’s why next up I'll be looking at DAOs.
DAOs for Philanthropy
The possibilities are endless. Some DAOs aim at buying an NFT and donating future profits to charities like PleasrDAO or then the projects can be more directly linked to philanthropy like the one Giveth aims for. I’ll quickly introduce you to a few but there are many more out there and nothing is stopping you from creating your own if you so like.
While this is not a project you can join or have access to it’s still worth a mention. This is a DAO consisting of DeFi enthusiasts and early NFT adopters and their idea is to buy rare NFTs, make profits from them, and then distribute those to the community. The best example here is the original Doge meme. PleasrDAO won the bid for this piece for a massive $4 million, however, rather than just keeping it, they fractionalized the NFT so that the community can be a part of it. Then with the money made here some amount goes to charities. This can actually be seen in The Giving Blocks CryptoGivingTuesday since @ownthedoge was the single biggest donor donating over $900k.
This is a project that in 2021 raised a total of $2.5 million from various investors. Endaoment aims at allowing the community to create funds for different causes. The fund allocates resources to different organizations listed in the description based on a smart contract running the fund. On top of that you can donate to certain organizations directly. Currently you need to be US based to create a fund and I don’t know whether that’ll change any time soon. What’s great though is that a fund can be created for something you’re passionate about and feel the need to make better. For example, there’s a fund to improve basketball playing opportunities via different approaches where one is to renovate public basketball courts. This fund has already raised over $900k. The total donations on Endaoment are however much higher than that and is sitting at almost $12 million. For those looking to donate you’ll be happy to know that they support many different cryptocurrencies.
Earth Fund is still in its early days but it does deserve to be mentioned. From all of these mentioned projects Earth Fund most resembles any other crypto project. How it works is that there is a token called 1Earth which can be bought on KuCoin and it can be staked to earn gov1earth tokens which grants you a voice in the community. Why you’ll want this is that you'll get to decide which causes get supported with the treasury. The treasury currently consists of 150 million 1Earth tokens (15%) and it will grow once people start to donate to causes since 1% of donations will go to the treasury. This is at least how I interpreted what I read. However, they have a 50-page whitepaper so I might have missed or misinterpreted something.
This sounds like a wonderful project but there’s one concern I have and it has to do with the token allocation. For a philanthropic project I would have liked to see the treasury a bit bigger. Currently advisors, investors and the team hold 23% and there’s 21% for platform reserves. No idea what those platform reserves are intended for but I would have hoped for a more charitable allocation. That's why buying 1Earth tokens won’t be that big of a charitable thing to do. However, this project sounds great and once you’ll be able to donate to causes through the site I’ll be there.
As with DAOs the possibilities here are endless. We have seen both those who donate everything from a certain NFT sale to charity as well as those who create entire projects with the sole purpose of raising money for charities. NFTs are also an innovative way for existing nonprofits to raise funding.
To take an example of the first case I mentioned, take a look at Jack Dorsey’s first tweet. He sold his first ever tweet as an NFT for $2.9 million and gave it all to charity. Now for a person like Jack Dorsey giving away $2.9 million dollars isn’t a big deal but still it’s a lot of money for the charities. Also, for the buyer of the NFT I think it feels a lot better knowing that the money goes into good use rather than in the already overfilled billionaire's pocket.
As the next example I have one that somehow has stuck to my brain and still amazes me every time I read or hear about NFTs. This is a story of a 14-year-old girl who made a million in 10 hours by selling 8000 beluga whale NFTs called Belugies. She did this since she wanted to raise funds for the endangered beluga whales. After making that much money she donated $100k to two different foundations helping the whales and another $100k to an organization that supports children hospital programs in UK. Now I know that this wasn’t the best example since for a project to truly be charitable you could have donated a bit more than 20 %. However, I think it shows how impressive amounts of money can be made with a good cause and project. It shows the potential of using NFTs as a fun and easy way to raise money. Yes, in this example she had help from her older brother who’s familiar with the tech but still, mind blowing how something like this can happen from everyday people and make such a huge impact.
What’s great to see is that traditional organizations have noticed the NFT sector. Recently Unicef announced that they’ll be minting 1000 NFTs to celebrate their 75th anniversary. I think this is great. It’s understandable to think that if you purchase these NFTs you won’t make any money, but when it comes to charity NFTs that’s not the point. For you as a donator I would look at it more as a proof-of-donation and a memory of doing something good. Not every NFT has to be an investment.
Lastly on NFTs I wanted to tell you about one interesting project called DoinGud. This is an NFT marketplace that will have a charitable aspect to it. When a creator issues an NFT a minimum of 5% of the earnings will go to charity and with second-hand sales a minimum of 2.5% also goes to charity projects. The project is still in beta mode but I have high hopes since the project has received huge amounts of funding and is backed by some big names like Alameda Research and Sandeep Nailwal the co-founder of Polygon (Polygon is also a partner of DoingGud).
Crypto As a Gift For Newcomers
After going on a donation rampage on the sites I just listed you might want to give some to family and friends, if you have any left. Crypto is a fun and valuable gift since you’re setting someone up to become financially free. Okay, 10 bucks in Bitcoin won’t make anyone financially free but it’s a start.
For most of you reading this piece I suppose cryptos are fairly familiar and you know that sending cryptos isn’t a big deal. Basically, you just need to get the wallet address of your friend and make sure it supports the tokens you’re sending and that’s it. However, what do you do when you want to gift crypto for someone who doesn’t have a wallet address?
There are a few ways you could to this and the first option would be to buy them a wallet. Buying your friend or family member a hardware wallet and setting it up with some crypto is a great way to start. Not only do they get to store their cryptos in one of the safest way possible but also, I would argue that they are less likely to sell them. If you don’t know which hardware wallet you can look at our hardware wallet review for some guidance. The one downside that I immediately think of with this is unfortunately cost. Hardware wallets can be a bit expensive, and depending on the amount you planned to spend on that gift the cryptocurrency portion might be quite small. However, as pointed out earlier maybe the point isn’t to make them financially free but rather to just get them started. Therefore, the amount you give isn’t the most important part, it’s already a big thing that you set them up with a wallet and show them how it works.
Another more cost-efficient way to send crypto to beginners is with centralized entities like Coinbase and the Cash App by Block (formerly known as Square). They both allow you to gift cryptocurrencies even without the receiver having an account on their sites. Naturally though, in order to redeem these cryptocurrencies, you need to create an account. When sending cryptocurrency like this you only need the receivers email address or phone number. The receiver will get instructions on how to set up an account as well as how to redeem the gift. A good thing is that the gift, at least for Coinbase, can be cancelled at any time and if the receiver doesn’t redeem the gift in 30 days it will automatically cancel, but hey who would say no to free crypto?
Hopefully I managed to inspire you to at least consider sharing some of your gains with those in need. I think it’s amazing to see cryptocurrencies take such a significant role in working for a better future. Of course, there are flaws in this sector too but the many projects that came across me while doing research for this piece made me further believe in the good this sector and technology can do. There are so many projects already and even more in the pipeline. Also, what amazes me is how relatively simple it’s to create your own project if you so like. Nothing stops you from creating NFTs with a philanthropic twist or setting up a DAO for a noble cause. Maybe you won’t make $1 million with your first NFT launch but every penny counts.
To end this piece, I’ll quote a tweet I saw just before writing this conclusion by non-other than MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor “Give a gift that no one else can take away #Bitcoin”.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.