In our digitally dependent era, there are various ways to donate funds online. A donor can give through their smartphone faster than we can count to 10. Technological innovation is at its peak right now, and we think it’s going to continue to grow and grow—rapidly, too. Included in the countless forms of online payments are bitcoins. What do you think? Is bitcoin the currency of the future?
Let’s take a few steps back and talk about what bitcoins are. Bitcoin is a digital form of currency that is used through the interwebz. Satoshi Nakamoto came up with the idea, and its purpose was to provide a form of currency that is independent of any central authority, can be transferable electronically and has low transaction fees. According to CoinDesk, unlike other forms of currency, bitcoins are transparent:
“Bitcoin stores details of every single transaction that ever happened in the network in a huge version of a general ledger, called the blockchain. If you have a publicly used bitcoin address, anyone can tell how many bitcoins are stored at that address. They just don’t know that it’s yours. There are measures that people can take to make their activities more opaque on the bitcoin network, such as not using the same bitcoin addresses consistently and not transferring lots of bitcoin to a single address.”
An increasing number of companies and organizations are now accepting bitcoins as a form of payment. According to CNBC, one bitcoin is currently worth more than one ounce of gold. On Mar. 2, a bitcoin was worth $1,290,13, while an ounce of gold was worth $1,228.
While bitcoins may on the rise, can nonprofit organizations benefit from offering bitcoins as a form of donation? We'll share come stats.
Helperbit, an Italian peer-to-peer donation system utilizing block chain technology to aid in natural disasters, teamed up with Legambiente, an Italian environmental advocacy organization, to raise donations to aid in the reconstruction in central Italy due to “earthquakes [that] have hit central Italy, devastating many mountain villages, killing nearly 300 people and displacing 22,000 inhabitants,” according to Brave New Coin. By offering Helperbit’s donation platform, Legambiente has been able to raise 59 percent (over 8 bitcoins) of the campaign’s goal.
“The lack of transparency that characterizes the traditional systems allows donative streams to be drained along their way to those who need it and puts people off donating. We want to unlock this unexpressed donative potential.”— Helperbit
Last March, the Water Project, a nonprofit focusing on finding solutions to water issues in sub-Saharan African countries, raised over $11,000 of its original $10,000 goal through another bitform platform called BitGive.
“We recognized early on, alongside BitGive, that the blockchain provides a whole new way to allow confidence-inspiring real-time auditing of how organizations like ours spend the public’s donations.”— Peter Chasse, president and founder, The Water Project.
Will the value of bitcoins continue to grow? Is this new currency the future? Wealthy investor Tim Draper made an $18 million bitcoin investment in 2014. He has made a $16 million profit since then. Only time will tell, but as of right now, we think it might be a favorable option.
We don’t think you should abandon all other forms of online payment, but it may be worth looking into and offering bitcoins as a convenient way for donors to give to your organization.