In January, I wrote about how I thought charitable giving could work in the cryptocurrency world. Today I’m pleased to announce the launch of GiveCrypto.org.
GiveCrypto.org’s mission is to financially empower people by distributing cryptocurrency globally. We will raise funds from cryptocurrency holders, and distribute small payments to people in need around the world — all using cryptocurrency. Initial recipients will be people living in emerging markets, especially those going through financial crisis.
The goals behind GiveCrypto.org are to:
- Help people in need by sending money to them directly
- Advance real-world usage and benefits of cryptocurrency
- Provide universal access to an open financial system
Why launch a charity now?
I’m passionate about unlocking the potential in cryptocurrency. When I first read the Satoshi Nakamoto white paper for bitcoin, I realized it represented an opportunity to bring economic freedom to people all over the world.
I’m not alone. Many who invested early in cryptocurrencies understood it could make the financial system more efficient, lower fees, and reduce transaction times. We saw the potential to create more innovation, with a universal currency on the internet. And we realized it could bank the unbanked of the world — the billions of people who are locked out of the financial system and trapped in poverty as a result.
People who invested early in crypto have amassed an enormous amount of wealth in a relatively short amount of time. Yet the reputation of the crypto community has been dominated by images of “bros in Lambos,” whose antics get a lot of attention. This doesn’t represent the best of our community. Most people I respect and know in the crypto ecosystem believe we have a responsibility to help this technology reach a much wider audience.
It’s still very early days in crypto and yet we’re already seeing philanthropy in cryptocurrency, from Ripple giving away $29 million to public schools to the Pineapple Fund or projects like EatBCH. Now is the time to make sure we fold philanthropy and giving back into the fabric of this new industry.
What is GiveCrypto.org?
Today, about 40 million people in the world own cryptocurrency. This is a good start, but the number of people around the globe who are wealthy enough to invest disposable income into risky, new technologies is limited. For cryptocurrency to reach its potential of creating a more open financial system and helping those locked out of traditional financial services, we need to create new use cases and broaden access.
GiveCrypto.org is a nonprofit that will both hold and distribute crypto to those in need. It’s an evergreen structure, meaning it gives away less than the amount that the fund grows each year.
We’ll start with direct-cash transfers in the form of cryptocurrency. An increasing body of evidence shows direct-cash transfers are a very effective form of giving, as they increase people’s income, boost food consumption and dietary diversity, and are tied to improved school attendance, health care visits, household savings, and investments in productive assets.
Cryptocurrency is unique in that it can be used to send small amounts of money anywhere in the world, in real-time directly to an individual in need — they just need a mobile device with an internet connection. With distribution of aid to foreign countries, high fees and corruption are unfortunately common; cryptocurrency is a way of circumventing both.
What will people do when they receive cryptocurrency?
I believe three things will happen:
- Cashout to local currency: Some will exchange it to their local currency to buy what they need most in that moment. This is a great outcome because our primarily goal is simply to help people in need. We’ll need to help people find and connect with local exchanges to make this easier.
- Hold: The second thing they might do is hold onto the cryptocurrency. In this case they start to benefit from the future potential upside of this technology.
- Crypto-to-crypto transfers: Finally, if there is enough density in certain regions, we may be able to spark local crypto economies, where people start to transact with crypto-to-crypto payments, especially in places around the world going through financial crisis.
Our initial goal
Our first goal with GiveCrypto.org is to raise a $10 million fund. We’ve gotten about $3.5 million raised so far (including an initial donation of $1 million from myself). We’ll need your help to raise the rest (see how to donate here).
After this, we will be hiring a small team, and will begin distributing payments via GiveCrypto.org “ambassadors” (local volunteers we trust in these markets). We may experiment with other distribution mechanisms in the future, such as working with other nonprofits who already have people in these markets, or building an app to help track distribution. From our initial tests, we’ll be able to get a deeper sense of whether recipients find the payments useful, how they exchange it to their local currency, and how they utilize the funds.
Once there is a demonstrated track record, our longer term goal is to reach a $1 billion fund size in the next two years.
Just the beginning
The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation notes that while billions of people in the world have a cell phone, many still don’t have access to financial services. Worldwide, over 1.7 billion adults do not have an account at a financial institution, according to the World Bank’s Global Financial Inclusion Database. That picture is even more grim for women, who are disproportionately excluded from the financial system.
Access to financial services is something many of us tend to take for granted in the U.S. We feel secure in the idea that if we do good work and someone wants to compensate us for it, no one will take that wealth away. Most of us have access to basic tools for saving, sending, and borrowing money. Unfortunately, far too many people around the world don’t have access to banking services and as a result are locked in a cycle of poverty.
GiveCrypto.org is our opportunity to create a movement that unlocks the power of crypto for individuals and families around the world who need it the most. Crypto has potential to be a great equalizer by lifting millions of people out of poverty, while accelerating the pace of innovation around the world.
This is my call to action to the crypto community: let’s pool our collective resources and try this new form of philanthropy, so people all over the world can start benefiting from a more equitable and open global financial system.
You can also see a video of my talk at the initial fundraiser dinner in San Francisco for GiveCrypto.org here:
Finally, we are hiring an Executive Director to run GiveCrypto.org. Click here to read more about the Executive Director role and apply.