Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen announced to attendees at a San Francisco State University celebration on Thursday that the company would donate $25 million in XRP to the university. The University stated the Ripple bequest was the largest cryptocurrency donation ever made to a U.S. university.
As CCN reported, Ripple (XRP) was up almost 13-percent ahead of the open of European markets on Friday. The donation to SFSU was a continuation of Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative announced in June of 2018. The UBRI committed $50 million in resources that included funding, subject matter expertise and technical resources to 17 institutions around the world.
According to Ripple, the goals of the initiative are to:
- Collaborate on research and technical development that will stimulate widespread understanding and innovation in the blockchain.
- Create a new curriculum to meet high student demand for learning about blockchain, cryptocurrency, and other FinTech topics.
- Stimulate ideas and dialog among students, faculty, technologists and business leaders on topics of shared interest.
Crypto giving is growing fast
According toFidelity’s 2018 Charitable Giving Report, 2017 Fidelity crypto giving topped $69 million. The increase in giving was $62 million over 2016 crypto donations. Donations to Fidelity Charitable of non-publicly traded assets, such as restricted stock, limited partnership interests, and real estate, totaled $916 million of all 2017 donations. The Fidelity report stated these donations “generated dollars for a charity that potentially would not otherwise be available to give.”
Crypto giving ushering in a new way to give
A survey by WeTrust found that 77 percent of crypto holders have an interest in making donations to charity. The desire by crypto-holders to donate to worthy causes is evidenced by the outpouring of support for the 2018 Japanese flooding crisis.
During the crisis, global cryptocurrency exchange Binance, assisted flood-stricken Japan in the form of a USD 1 million cash donation and setting up a donation address, calling on partners to donate cryptocurrency. Two weeks later the cause had received donations valued at $1.4 million.
In 2013 non-profit BitGive started helping other organizations with receipt of bitcoin. Coinbase launched its service for non-profits in 2014, allowing no-fee donations for charities.
Other organizations have come on the scene in efforts to make crypto-giving more mainstream. Man on a Mission Consulting provides “strategic guidance and other support for social sector organizations, such as nonprofits and foundations, looking to explore or promote projects in the cryptocurrency and blockchain arenas.”
Man on a Mission founder Paul Lamb stated:
“I think there’s a strong desire to accept not only bitcoin, but other cryptocurrencies as well, so it’s really a matter of building it and providing a menu of options from fiat to the wide range of cryptocurrencies.”
In the age of crypto giving, charities should proceed with caution before just accepting a cryptocurrency donation. According to the Journal of Accountancy, some steps organizations can take ahead of acceptance are:
- Review and update the organization’s gift acceptance policy;
- Set up systems, accounts, policies, and procedures to accept and secure this class of asset;
- Adopt accounting policies and adjust the chart of accounts as necessary to properly account for this class of asset if it cannot be readily converted to cash (this article does not address accounting practices, as accounting guidance for cryptocurrency is being evaluated by an AICPA working group); and
- Understand and implement systems for gathering information needed to comply with all reporting requirements associated with accepting this class of asset.
The former head of CME Ventures, Rumi Morales cautioned against charities rushing to accept crypto donations. Morales said:
“If you simply want to jump in because you’ve heard the buzz about it, I would caution anyone against accepting buzz over real money.”
Morales added. “Bitcoin and digital currencies can be accepted at some type of value, but as we’ve seen, it can be very volatile.”
Ripple Donation will help the cause
Whatever the short term effects of the Ripple donation, the end game envisioned by the University Blockchain Research Initiative will hopefully move toward a broader understanding of the blockchain and cryptocurrency and realize the promise of the technology.