Philanthropic Digital Donations


Luke Rexing, Writer

Cryptocurrencies are still making waves throughout many avenues, and the bulls are still hanging on and advocating for a prosperous summer. Recently, Bitcoin prices have been hovering around the mid-$40,000 level. Slightly more volume has entered the markets, as geopolitical arguments have seemed to stabilize. Late February and March of this year were scary times in the market, with many cryptocurrencies falling in value due to Bitcoin being below its bull market support band. Last month, the crypto fear and greed index hit a low of 23, indicating extreme fear; however, this month has taken some of the weight off of long term investors, with the index now in the neutral zone. This volatility in both price action and in the greed index are to be expected when investing in a speculative asset, but the use case and fundamentals of digital currencies has remained. 

One of the largest and most prevalent use cases for crypto last year and this year has been for philanthropy. This has been eye opening, as there is a significant difference between the amount of traditional fiat donors and crypto donors. Around 45 percent of crypto investors in 2021 donated to charitable foundations, compared to 33 percent of general investors. Government restrictions on non-profits now are less effective with decentralized and relatively unregulated crypto donations. With the average age of crypto holders being 38, and the average age of charitable donors being 64, there has been a shift in demographics of a traditional donor. United Way is a charitable international organization, which started accepting crypto donations in 2014. Recently, it has received many donations, with its main demographic being 25-35 year olds. As explained in my last article, crypto donations have been a huge player regarding recent geopolitical uncertainty. There has now been over $100 million in donations to aid Ukraine in their conflicts against Russia. A traditional wire transfer of fiat currencies can have a cost upwards of $50, while gas fees on the second largest digital currency, Ethereum, are only around $10. Additionally, the creator of Ethereum, 28-year-old Vitalik Buterin has donated around 1 billion dollars in Shiba Inu to aid Covid-19 relief efforts. 

Although the markets are in a somewhat uncertain state, there has been a slight breakout due to compression of price action between the bulls and the bears. In early March, Bitcoin hit a low of about $37,000 USD, leading to a spike in volume bringing it to current prices and a recent high of nearly $47,500 at the very end of March. Riot Blockchain, a Bitcoin mining company sold around 200 coins around this price, raising a little more than $9 million. Despite the sale, they have increased their monthly mining from one year ago by 176 percent, with 511 Bitcoin mined in March, valued around $23.5 million today. Mining companies similar to Riot have not slowed their hash rate, but instead have increased their physical assets and seem to be doubling down on their commitment to the coin. 

This information leads me to believe that crypto is still here to play in the big leagues, and may end up being one of the biggest disruptors of our century. It will completely change the financial industry, and hopefully allow more people to become financially literate, and financially independent. Speaking with members of older generations, 20-year-olds would rarely even think about investing back in the day. Even in one of my classes here at the U, my professor addressed cryptocurrencies and how they would be changing the world alongside our generation. Now with more access and freedom to make financial decisions, there are many students around me that are opening up to the idea, and will hopefully reap the benefits many years down the line. Even in one of my classes here at the U, my professor addressed cryptocurrencies and how they would be changing the world alongside our generation.