Tim Draper, founder of the private equity firm Draper Jurvetson Fisher (DFJ) based in San Francisco, bought close to 30,000 Bitcoins on July 2, 2014. He didn’t have an agenda to flip the coins for a profit, it was to spread the use of the coins in emerging markets where access to currency is difficult.
Today, a Swedish company, Safello, announced it’s enabling worldwide charitable giving through Bitcoin donations with three global charities. Safello creates safe ways to buy, sell and use Bitcoins in the emerging cyrpto currency market.
Through Safello’s Bitcoin donation pages, they created a new way of donating money by letting charities run free Bitcoin fundraising campaigns where 100% of the funds go to the project. With Bitcoin, donations show up in real-time in the transaction stream where the funding goal is automatically updated. This enables local charities to create a global campaign in minutes.
According to Frank Schuil, CEO, Safello, Bitcoin forces transparency because it contains a public ledger where all the donations can be followed and after the funds have been raised, the money can be traced as long as it stays in Bitcoin.
“Another great possibility through Bitcoin donations is it more easily allows for truly global campaigns because there are no geographical restrictions and the low cost of Bitcoins enable the possibility of micro funding goals,” added Schuil. “In the long term I foresee new charities emerge that solely raise and spend Bitcoins where donators can follow the money trail back to the cause.”
It’s an incredible thing to watch real-time incoming donations from people all around the world uniting to complete a funding goal to support these causes. — Frank Schuil, CEO, Safello
Alternative giving mechanisms dovetail with recent global giving trends. The World Giving Index reported charitable giving rose in 2013 with one-third of the world donating to charity and 45% of the world’s population donating to help strangers. The report also found the use of informal giving mechanisms, such as on-line donations, illustrated the importance of personal interactions in philanthropy, especially in the developing world.
The United States came in first in terms of overall charitable giving for 2013 with Canada, Mynamar and New Zealand tied in second place and Ireland, UK, Australia, Netherlands, Qatar and Sri Lanka rounding out the top ten according to the World Giving Index.
LiveBuild is a Dutch NGO that facilitates water and education projects in Cameroon and is re-building a school in Ntisaw, Cameroon through a Bitcoin campaign. The Ntisaw project has a funding goal of 25 Bitcoins. The community of Ntisaw built their own school in 1990, but 24 years later the school is deteriorating. Classrooms are small and poorly equipped and roofs are leaking.
The Ntisaw community is collecting building materials and they have constructed two new classrooms but with the Bitcoin campaign, they hope to construct four new classrooms, a library and toilets.
“I believe Bitcoins will become an important future payment method in Africa. With this project we want Cameroonian kids to be ready for this long term benefit,” said Koen van Bremen, founder, LiveBuild.
A non-profit NGO focused on health service delivery in underserved areas for children, Shifo is using Bitcoin donations to fund their Every Child Counts campaign. The campaign will use donations to improve child health through systematic child registration and vaccination follow-up throughout Uganda.
An NGO with the first Bitcoin endowment fund, the LifeBoat Foundation encourages scientific advancements but with an eye towards mitigating risks and misuse of evolving technologies such as genetic engineering, nanotechnology and AI. The LifeBoat Foundation is raising a new fund, Bounty Fund, through Safello to fix Bitcoin-related bugs such as the recent Mac bug that caused data corruption to wallets and forced users to rebuild their databases which then took hours to rebuild.
Eric Klien, founder, Lifeboat Foundation said the Bounty Fund enables them to give back more to the Bitcoin community.
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Our society changes every day and new technology can help transform and shape the way we align our selves with the world around us. Looking at the shift and evolution of charitable giving, Bitcoin donations are just another part of an evolution that continues – from snail mail to on-line donations to a currency that knows no borders.
Schuil puts the Bitcoin donations into practical perspective.
“We want to make Bitcoin fundraising a fundamental source of income for these and other charities by connecting them to audiences they may otherwise not reach. The variety of campaigns embracing Bitcoin campaigns on Safello, proves how widely applicable this is and we hope to spark a wave of pages to introduce a new way of donating to the charities we all care about.”
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