Blockchain technology has introduced a new way of transacting. The cryptocurrency market may be the most popular blockchain application, but it's by no means the only one. Blockchain is being used in a variety of areas, including charity. Charities are in the business of keeping track of things, like charitable donations and volunteers. Blockchain's security, trustworthiness, and full transparency make it an ideal tool for charity work.
However, how would Blockchain for charity work? How could charities use it? But before we dive into answering these questions, let's first define Blockchain.
Blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that uses cryptographic principles to record transactions on an immutable/unchangeable, public, and tamper-proof distributed database. Typically, peer-to-peer networks of users run a blockchain. This promotes trust among users and allows for transparency, which has become one of Blockchain's most outstanding features.
Now let's look at how Blockchain can be used in charity.
Blockchain has been around for a while now. As it gains momentum across multiple marketplaces, charities are taking advantage to rejuvenate the sector.
They are using the technology for:
Simply put, digital fundraising is raising money online. Most people spend more and more time using devices to shop, pay bills, and connect with others. Similarly, charitable organizations have begun using new tools online to find donors and engage them in previously unavailable ways.
Digital fundraising through Blockchain has paid off. The Giving Block's 2021 report indicates the organization raised a little over $10,000 in cryptocurrency against an average of $128 in cash. This translates to 82X more value per transaction.
Cryptocurrencies make international donations more accessible than ever before. Currently, international funds transfer is expensive and time-consuming. Cryptocurrencies are backed by blockchain technology and therefore don't rely on banks or other financial institutions. They can transfer value across the globe in minutes with no exorbitant fees attached.
Also, donors can enjoy some tax relief through cryptocurrency donations. If you donate your crypto directly to charity, rather than trading it first, you won't feel the pinch of capital gains taxes on that donation (we shall discuss this in detail in the benefits section).
Further, the emergence of third-party processors such as Crypto for Charity, or donor-advised funds, such as Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, have eased the fears of charity organizations that don't accept direct crypto donations.
Blockchain has been a buzzword in the technology space for the last few years, and with good reason. Below are some benefits of using Blockchain in charity.
With an increased ability to track and trace donations, beneficiaries will be able to see who is donating and where the money is going. This transparency can result in more trust for those who will benefit from charitable donations. Additionally, knowing exactly where their money goes when they donate, people might feel inspired to give more.
Some cryptocurrencies have "whitelisting," a security feature that only restricts crypto withdrawals to specific addresses. Also, a blockchain is an immutable public ledger. Any interested party can access data within the Blockchain, but they cannot manipulate or edit it.
Gone are the days when donors used to donate cash and material items to charity. Such traditional donations faced geographical and time restrictions, limiting charities' amounts. Cryptocurrencies have diversified, and ensured charities receive more while breaking geo and time barriers. Now, donors from all over the globe can contribute without worrying about restrictions or bureaucracies.
The IRS categorizes crypto as property, subject to capital gains when traded for profit. This applies if you hold the crypto for more than 12 months to enjoy capital gains of up to 20%. If you trade them after holding them for less than one year, you'll incur regular income taxes of up to 37% (depending on the crypto's buying value – basis – and value after the sale).
Instead of trading them first, you can bypass these taxes by directly donating the crypto to charity. However, donations of more than $5,000 require a qualified appraisal.
Smart contracts automate payments without any extra fees that go toward other intermediaries such as banks or credit card companies. That way, donors will feel good about giving their hard-earned money away, knowing that it won't be used inefficiently or fraudulently.
Despite the few challenges in setting up digital wallets, Blockchain for charity is gaining momentum.
Some of the charities deploying Blockchain in their operations include:
Since 2019, UNICEF has received, held, and distributed ether and bitcoin donations. After receiving the crypto donations, the UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund disperses the funds in the same crypto. Most of these funds go towards funding open source technology benefiting children and young people globally.
Save the children was the first International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) to receive Bitcoin donations. These funds went towards helping communities in southeastern Asia and the Philippines rebuild after the destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan.
The INGO's latest crypto beneficiary is Rwanda's Kumwe hub, a center bringing together innovation and investments across Africa.
The Wild tomorrow fund is recognized for its efforts to save threatened animal species, especially the big five, and other wildlife across Africa. Recently, the organization partnered with the Big Five Foundation to protect and create a community relief program funded with cryptocurrency in South Africa.
The Blockchain Charity Foundation focuses on closing the poverty gap, promoting education for stronger foundations, healthcare, and well-being, and taking care of the environment. This charity organization has created the First-Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund. A fund to help communities affected by the war in Ukraine after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of the country.
Blockchain solutions are still in their early stages and have a long way to go. However, the technology it's already revolutionizing charity and the way people donate. With a bucketful of benefits, Blockchain for charity is here to stay, and the future looks brighter.