Four Benefits of Accepting Donations in Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrencies are hailed by their more enthusiastic proponents as a panacea. A cure-all for exorbitant merchant fees, costly remittance, data fraud, supply chain tracking, and even global warming. If you can see past the exuberance and focus on the facts, however, you’ll find that cryptos yield a number of clear advantages over existing systems, with some industries particularly suited to the benefits afforded by digital assets and blockchain technology. The charitable sector is the perfect case in point.
You don’t have to be a Bitcoin bull or Ethereum acolyte to appreciate the numerous ways in which crypto can make charitable giving fairer for all parties, from the donor right through to the recipient of the aid. While some of these benefits are obvious, others may be less immediately apparent.
When donating to charity, there’s rarely a need for instant settlement. It’s not as if the charitable organization is going to rush off and spend those funds the moment they’ve confirmed on the blockchain. Nevertheless, there is a need for payments to clear within a reasonable timeframe. More quickly than the 10 days it takes for a check to be sent in the mail, received, banked and cleared, for instance. And more quickly than the 1-4 business days it takes on average for an international bank transfer to clear.
Cryptocurrency can be sent almost instantly, cross-border, and at low cost. PayPal charges charitable organizations 1.4% plus 20 cents per transaction, by way of comparison. While being lower than the rates it charges regular businesses, those fees can still eat up thousands or tens of thousands of dollars a year that would otherwise go to good causes. Thanks to platforms such as ChangeNOW, accepting charitable cryptocurrency payments is easier than ever, with fiat-to-crypto purchases supported, and the ability to switch between 170 different cryptos and no surcharges. Services such as ChangeNOW and 8Pay enable charities to start accepting crypto donations quickly and easily, with no upfront costs or monthly maintenance fees.
Public blockchains enable transactions to be tracked from end to end, providing full accountability, and ensuring that funds have been deployed when and where promised. For charities, this is a powerful tool, as it provides a means of proving that aid has reached its final destination. Binance Charity Foundation’s Pink Care Token, for instance, provides a clear audit trail that shows the number of donors and the amount received. As a result, people can contribute in confidence that funds will reach their intended recipient and effect some good in the world; in this case, to benefit Ugandan women who lack access to feminine hygiene products.
Privacy and transparency might sound like opposing aims, but blockchain technology allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds, to a fashion. Due to the pseudonymous design of crypto networks, people can donate to charitable causes without the deed showing up on their credit card or bank statement. The transaction can be viewed on-chain, but the sender cannot be easily determined unless the individual chooses to disclose their identity.
This is extremely valuable in cases where people wish to contribute to a cause that is close to their heart, but where it may be desirable to keep their actions private from the rest of the world. For instance, the donor may wish to support the treatment of an illness from which they are suffering, without disclosing their affliction in the process. The pseudonymity of blockchain transactions makes crypto donations ideal for this purpose. Likewise when it comes to contributing to causes that support people living under despotic regimes, where discretion is necessary.
Many charities divert aid to developing countries where access to banking is limited, and where corruption and political instability are rife. This can make it hard to get funds into the hands of the intended recipients. Around 5% of all global aid, worth $8 billion, is believed to be lost annually in this manner. Cryptocurrencies can’t eradicate this problem altogether, but they can prove invaluable in keeping funds out of the reach of corrupt officials that would misuse it. In Africa, where ownership of mobile devices is high, mobile wallets can be loaded with tokens for the purpose of purchasing educational materials, foodstuffs, and for basic identification.
You don’t have to be a cryptocurrency zealot to appreciate the value of accepting digital assets for charitable purposes. Why would your charitable organization want to accept crypto? After examining the evidence, that question requires rephrased: why wouldn’t it?