Burning Man, the organization best known for its annual week-long celebration of cutting-edge culture in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, has announced it is accepting bitcoin donations to extend its reach.
While ticket sales to the 'Black Rock City' event generally cover production costs, donations will help cover Burning Man's growing year-round program of other activities, including Global Art Grants program, the Big Art for Small Towns program and art honorariums.
Donations will be processed through Coinbase.
Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell said:
"Donations will help provide more grants, training and support to creators of radically interactive art and events on and off the playa, fund civic programs, teach communities the power of collaboration, strengthen our infrastructure and make the Burning Man experience accessible year-round."
Accepting bitcoin for donations is an experimental first step, she added. While Burning Man is not accepting bitcoin payments for tickets just yet, it plans to explore that and other possibilities in the future.
Burning Man is a recognized non-profit organization, and as such donations are tax-deductable. More details on the exact programs to be fundable with bitcoin are available on its website.
Tech culture icon
Burning Man has long been a highlight on the tech culture and Silicon Valley calendar, so embracing cutting-edge finance would seem like a logical step. It joins other notable organisations, such as Wikipedia and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in accepting bitcoin donations.
Spokesperson Jim Graham told CoinDesk that a number of participants and team members over the years had asked whether Burning Man would accept bitcoin.
"We've had two in-house advocates championing it. You probably know that Burning Man attracts a broad range of tech people and early adopters. It made sense for us to explore the idea and look at donations to the non-profit as a starting point."
How bitcoin will work
All bitcoin donations will be converted to dollars upon receipt. Coinbase was chosen, Goodell said, because its platform is robust, secure, and does not charge fees to non-profits.
Burning Man, she added, "has been a crucible of innovation for nearly 30 years", and seamless, fee-less bitcoin transactions will give people the widest variety of options for supporting its culture out in the world.
The organisation also supports civic art programs and volunteer group Burners Without Borders, and provides grants for community initiatives. Around the world, Burning Man facilitates a regional network of more than 250 volunteer contacts on five continents, hosts an annual Global Leadership Conference and a European Leadership Conference – scheduled this year for February 2015.
The Burning Man event, which began as a San Francisco beach festival in 1986, grew steadily over the years and, in 2014, attracted nearly 66,000 attendees.
The Burning Man organisation has a mission "to facilitate and extend the culture that has issued from the Burning Man event into the larger world. This culture forms an integrated pattern of values, experience, and behaviour: a coherent and widely applicable way of life".
Its programs are designed to increase self-reliance, civic involvement, creative capacity, sharing and inclusion.
While ticket sales to the ‘Black Rock City’ event generally cover production costs, donations will help cover Burning Man’s growing year-round program of other activities, including Global Art Grants program , the Big Art for Small Towns program and art honorariums.