Expert Insight

Using blockchain and crypto for good

GUEST POST: A look at how digital currency donations are steadily becoming an attractive alternative due to traceable features which are revolutionising the charity sector

For years, the terms ‘Bitcoin’ and ‘cryptocurrencies’ have become the topic of unfavourable press, accused of being a tool for criminals or minimised to an impractical hobby. These widely spread misconceptions are due to lack of understanding about the digital currency.

Fact is, when utilised properly and fully understood, it has the potential to be an initiator of many emerging systems that will fundamentally change our global economic including the philanthropic sector. Along with its other numerous functions, cryptocurrency can also operate as a platform for charities once they develop the procedures and infrastructure to accept crypto-donations. The potential benefits are unfathomable.

Secure and publicly available

And what better time than now since research conducted by nfpSynergy has exposed trust in charities to have fallen by six percentage over the past year following the Oxfam scandal. The decline has been observed since September 2015, as the Charities Aid Foundation reported the same news that public trust dropped significantly due to the money misuse by authorities. Unfortunately, it’s a predicament that still remains as many still believe these institutions spend too much of their budgets on overheads and too little directly on programs.

Bitcoin’s blockchain system offers a secure and publicly available database of transactions attainable by anyone online. It further consists of a digital ledger that documents every transaction from beginning to end.

Moreover, it’s an initiative numerous charities have already endeavoured to adopt for their humanitarian projects. One recent example of a successful project built with bitcoin is the establishment of a preschool in Rwanda. Launched earlier this year in the village of Kasebigege, the red brick school has enrolled nearly 120 infants, aged between three to six years old.

It was established through a joint philanthropic force driven by the CEO’s Paxful Inc – a US based peer-to-peer Bitcoin technology company – in collaboration with Zam Zam Water, a humanitarian organization promoting clean water and quality education. They hope that through their work others in the cryptocurrency space will join this important venture and make a real and lasting difference in their communities

Showing people a new world

Paxful CEO and co-founder, Ray Youssef, shared his intentions to encourage charitable giving in the cryptocurrency sector, and therefore, launched the online hashtag #BuiltWithBitcoin fundraising initiative in 2017 which is still ongoing. It has received great support from the online community.

He said his focus is to “show people a new world with crypto”. As part of the launch, Paxful donated $50,000 worth of Bitcoin for the construction of a new nursery school in Rwanda.

This proves, once embraced and utilised productively, it can be powerful and innovative, it can most definitely be a revolution. Continuous projects can prove blockchain-based systems will help to improve the reputation of charities as well as enhance their performance. It’s imperative for non-profits to win back the public’s trust for legitimacy and effectiveness for both non-financial as well as financial support.

As blockchain technologies have the capability of filling the information gap which traditional avenues of charities fail to provide its givers. Blockchain can be the solution to help restore faith in charitable giving among sceptical donors. This, as a result, could lead to a rise in philanthropic activities.

Cryptocurrency is not only the future of money, it could become much more, it can be the future of many unfortunates around the world.

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