Crypto Philanthropy: A Conversation with the Founders of The Giving Block

In 2020, Hope for Haiti’s Board of Directors passed a resolution allowing for the acceptance of cryptocurrency as a form of donation. After an extensive search for the right partner, we selected The Giving Block as our primary platform for cryptocurrency donations. Since March, Hope for Haiti has received more than $27,000 in cryptocurrency donations to help support a comprehensive COVID-19 response plan, as well as education, healthcare, clean water, and economic development programs in Haiti. 

To shine a light on this important partnership, we interviewed the founders of The Giving Block, Alex Wilson and Pat Duffy

What inspired you to start The Giving Block?

During the crypto bull market of 2017/2018, we saw hundreds of millions of dollars being donated to nonprofits; however, very few nonprofits knew how to accept cryptocurrency donations and very few donors knew about the tax benefits of donating crypto instead of cash.

We saw a way to help nonprofits raise more money and for crypto users to reduce their tax burdens so we started The Giving Block. 

Why does it make sense for people to donate cryptocurrency?

The main driver is taxes. From a tax perspective, donating crypto is very similar to donating stock because the IRS (and many global tax agencies) classify cryptocurrency as property.

For the donor, this means they do not have to pay capital gains tax and can write off the donation on their tax return. This often means the donor is able to deduct 20% more on their tax return and donate 20% more than if they donated the after tax proceeds. 

What resources would you recommend to an individual looking to learn more about cryptocurrency and how to become a crypto-philanthropist? 

For beginners, there are plenty of great resources available like https://www.coindesk.com/learn

For more advanced crypto users wanting to learn more about crypto-philanthropy, you can check out our blog for the latest initiatives or browse the list of crypto-friendly nonprofits here.

What have been some of your biggest challenges in starting and sustaining The Giving Block? 

The biggest challenge is the lack of education about cryptocurrencies. Most people still associate crypto with the dark web from the early days but things have changed dramatically. 

As more major companies like Facebook, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs this barrier has decreased dramatically.

What cryptocurrencies can people donate through your platform, and which seem to be the most popular? 

Donors can choose from Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Zcash (ZEC, Gemini Dollar (GUSD), Basic Attention Token (BAT), and ChainLink (LINK)

Bitcoin is by far the most common, followed by Ether and then Zcash. 

What trends to you see in the crypto/blockchain space that people might not know about yet?

Corporate Social Responsibility beginning within most major crypto companies and startups. About half of our donation volume is from our corporate partners. 

We work closely with our corporate partners to develop employee giving programs, sponsor events and contribute to matching pools for our campaigns.

What three things do you recommend nonprofits do to engage crypto-philanthropists? 

  1. Accept Crypto Donations Publicly: This might sound like common sense, but some nonprofits tell us they don’t accept crypto because donors aren’t asking for it. Most donors won’t bother reaching out and will go somewhere else that accepts crypto.
  2. Marketing: Mix in occasional social media posts reminding your followers that you accept cryptocurrency donations. Have a gala coming up? Remind attendees that they can also donate cryptocurrency. 
  3. Content: Write blog posts, put out press releases, look at other crypto use cases and show an interest towards engaging with the crypto community. It is one thing to accept crypto but developing content around it is a great way to get found by donors. 

Accountability is one of Hope for Haiti’s core values. How do you think cryptocurrency and blockchain technology can help us become more accountable? 

  • Cryptocurrency is the most transparent form of money ever created.
  • Cryptocurrency can allow donations and use of funds to be transparently and publicly shown online.
  • Although not yet easy to implement, there could in theory be a transparent trail of crypto funds moving in and out of the organization.

Join the movement! You can easily make a cryptocurrency donation to support our programs by clicking here.

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