Applications and Use Cases

Blockchain Empowering Compassionate Causes: Goodness Decentralized

September 18, 2018

Blockchain technology offers an immutable, secure, and publicly available database/ledger of transactions accessible by anyone online, and major non-profit organizations and mission-driven companies are rolling out blockchain fundraising platforms and more, as digital currency starts to enter the mainstream – beyond Bitcoin.

The technology underlying digital currencies is primarily being adapted by charities to address issues of transparency in giving, but is also being used to create incentives for people to create and share content in support of causes they care about, with likes and shares of that content being converted into a “new currency” that can be used to provide vital services, develop programs, protect democracies, and more.

Blockchain technology also greatly reduces overhead spending due to improved operational efficiencies as the donors’ donation goes directly to the charity with no transaction fees from banks, etc. and therefore the charity receives 100% of the amount donated.

All this is adding up to a restoration of faith in charitable giving among skeptics who believe that nonprofit organizations spend too much on fancy offices, travel and salaries, and too little on programs that provide direct aid to people in need.

Some well known organizations are or have been involved in raising money through bitcoin donations, include the American National Red Cross, Save the Children, United Way, the Wikimedia Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The American National Red Cross accepts donations in BTC and BCH (Bitcoin Cash) and is processed through BitPay who are supporting them. No fees allows for the charity to receive 100% of donations raised via BitPay’s (hosted) website.

The American Red Cross have been involved in Bitcoin Black Friday in addition to the Bitcoin Giving Tuesday.

  • BitPay is a global bitcoin payment service provider headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. BitPay provides Bitcoin and Bitcoin cash payment processing services for merchants.
  • BitPay have announced partnerships with merchants including Microsoft, NewEgg, Warner Bros Records in 2014, as well as payment system operator PayPal as well as merchant acquirers Global Payments and Alternet Systems.
  • BitPay has developed open source bitcoin projects, including BitCore and Copa.

Save the Children also accepting Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash donations through BitPay.

"We have already seen the generosity of the bitcoin community, and working with BitPay allows us to keep 100% of the donations, helping us serve even more children," said Ettore Rossetti, director of digital marketing and social media at Save the Children.

Save the Children became involved in bitcoin-related campaigns late last year, when it took part in a campaign to raise bitcoin donations for Typhoon Haiyan Relief, hosted by the BitGive Foundation.

The success of the campaign and the relationship with the BitGive Foundation prompted Save the Children to embrace bitcoin donations. "Accepting bitcoin donations seemed like a natural next step for us," said Rossetti.

  • The BitGive Foundation - The IRS officially recognizes it as a charitable organization within the US.
  • BitGive’s slogan - ‘Leveraging Bitcoin & Blockchain for Global Philanthropy’
  • BitGive’s mission - Leverage the power of Bitcoin and Blockchain technology to improve public health and the environment worldwide.

United Way Worldwide, the world's largest privately held non-profits decided to accept Bitcoin donations to diversify the contributions it receives. The United Way Innovation Fund is a division of the charity dedicated to updating solving global challenges with new technologies and innovations. However, they seem to have stopped taking Bitcoin donations for reasons unknown at press time.

The Wikimedia Foundation, an American non-profit and charitable organization headquartered in San Francisco, California has stated that their goal is of developing and maintaining open content, wiki-based projects and providing the full contents of those projects to the public free of charge as well as political advocacy. The Wikimedia Foundation are now accepting donations in Bitcoin.

“It has always been important to the Foundation to make sure donating is as simple and inclusive as possible,” Lisa Seitz Gruwell, the chief revenue officer, said in a statement. “Currently, we accept 13 different payment methods enabling donations from nearly every country in the world, and today, we’re adding one more: Bitcoin.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a nonprofit defending digital privacy, free speech, and innovation. Used to promote Internet civil liberties. EFF provides funds for legal defense in court, presents amicus curiae briefs, defends individuals and new technologies from what it considers abusive legal threats, works to expose government malfeasance, provides guidance to the government and courts, organizes political action and mass mailings, supports some new technologies which it believes preserve personal freedoms and online civil liberties, maintains a database and web sites of related news and information, monitors and challenges potential legislation that it believes would infringe on personal liberties and fair use, and solicits a list of what it considers abusive patents with intentions to defeat those that it considers without merit.

EFF also provides tips, tools, how-to's, tutorials, and software for safer online communications. As have other non-profits, however, EFF recently removed donations in Bitcoin for several reasons:

  • Not fully understanding the complex legal issues involved with creating a new currency system.
  • Not wanting to mislead their donors.
  • People misconstruing their acceptance of Bitcoin as an endorsement of Bitcoin.

Blockchain Donation Tracking Tools Available

Givetrack is another US-based platform nonprofits use for taking donations and sharing with donors exactly how their contributions are used while tying donations directly to a project result. GiveTrack is a project of BitGive (mentioned above).

Alice is a London-based social funding and impact management platform built on the Ethereum blockchain.

“We incentivise social organisations (charities, NGOs, social enterprises) to run projects transparently, by making sure that they get paid more when they achieve their goals,” according to their website.

The performance of each project is publicly available, making it easier for funders (philanthropic organisations, impact investors, small donors) to identify and help scale social projects that actually work. Shared impact data also helps reduce due diligence and reporting costs, and helps social organisations collaborate more effectively.

Alice recently piloted the technology for which aims at ending homelessness and rebuilding lives.

CareBit is a Blockchain based non-profit charity. Their mission is to help those in need, anywhere in the world, with CareBit (CARE) coins.

“We are the first non-profit organization in crypto world and the first digital charity to have its own blockchain,” Carebit’s website says. “We are also the first organization in crypto who has declared all the company assets on the website and on the discord channel. we try to be as transparent as possible. We are making a donation tracking system so anyone donating in CARE will be able to install an app and track their donations end to end. The application is coming soon, but we will implement a web tracking tool long before that as a prototype.

Who owns CareBit? No One. Unlike any other altcoin, Carebit is truly decentralized in a way that no one person decides its future or takes decisions in regards to where charity funds are spent. Carebit is also the first non profit organization in crypto space and no one takes any salaries, including their CEO.

All Carebit assets are declared and available for public viewing at any time, as live wallet balances are shown on their website.

Ant Financial (formally AliPay), Alibaba’s $150 billion financial affiliate, launched a blockchain-based service that lets Hong Kong’s large Filipino working population send funds to family back home quickly and securely. For now, the program is in a three-month trial period during which transaction fees will be waived.

The trial is envisioned as one that could come to record donations made by Alipay users to charities through its "Ant Love" platform, Bloomberg reports, a move that may ultimately allow users to gain greater insight into how funds are handled by charities.

Charity Coins

Here’s a list of some specific digital coins in place today:

Clean Water Coin - designed to raise money for the non-profit Charity:Water.

CARE coin - nonprofit charity coins to help those in need anywhere in the world (mentioned above.)

AidCoin - AidCoin is the ERC20 token that aims to become the preferred method to donate transparently through the Ethereum blockchain and to access the ecosystem of services provided by the AIDChain platform. The adoption of cryptocurrencies will impact the way we donate in the future, and AidCoin is poised to play a leading role in this new era of fundraising.

Pinkcoin - The world’s most advanced blockchain based donation platform for social impact. Pinkcoin’s new platform is revolutionizing the process of being charitable. Not only does our unique software allow you to earn proof of stake rewards simply by running a wallet, but it also allows you to automatically donate any portion of these proof of stake rewards to any charity at zero cost to you. R

Root tokens - RootProject These coins fund both its own projects and those of other non-profits. Root tokens can be sold and exchanged for dollars to help fund self-run or partner poverty alleviation projects. Specially reserved Root tokens are used to support a pension fund for project workers.

UNICEF Game Chaingers started as an experiment. The project recruited gamers to use the processing power of their computers to mine Ethereum to raise money in support of Syrian children.

While this survey is incomplete, given the amount of energy being poured into leveraging blockchain for social good, it does provide a sense of the creativity underway.  We anticipate more and more examples, and will continue to cover this track going forward, including featuring companies whose for-profit platforms are integrating “social good” campaigns and projects as part of their start-up DNA.

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Maurice Nagle



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