Cryptocurrencies effect on global charities study launched

New programme between BitGive and University of Edinburgh will research impact of bitcoin on global crypto-philanthropy trends, and provide guidelines for charity practitioners.

Chloe Green | 24th May 18
A study by BitGive and Edinburgh University will examine the impact of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin on charities. Unsplash/Andre Francois

A new research collaboration to investigate the effect of cryptocurrencies on the global charitable sector will examine the opportunities and challenges of using and converting cryptocurrency within developing economies.

The collaboration between BitGive, the first Bitcoin 501(c)(3)* non-profit, and the University of Edinburgh was announced at OxChain’s Blockchain and the Global South Conference in London this week.

Its aim is to use the research to develop a ‘better, more cohesive approach’ to leveraging cryptocurrency for charitable giving. The research project will examine BitGive’s blockchain-based platform GiveTrack’s past implementations in Indonesia, India, and Kenya to investigate the feasibility, utility, and acceptance of cryptocurrency in these regions.

Researchers will also explore how barriers such as regulation, user and merchant adoption, and the influences of local culture and government affect the use of cryptocurrency on the ground.

Opportunities, challenges and barriers

“BitGive has explored this topic through the 2017 launch of GiveTrack, a blockchain-based donation platform that offers individuals the ability to trace the path of their charitable donations in real time,” said Connie Gallippi, Founder at BitGive. “Throughout this process, we have discovered numerous opportunities, as well as challenges and barriers, that have helped to shape the development of our platform and helped to define crypto-philanthropy.”

Gallippi added: “Using this knowledge, in tandem with the bright minds at the University of Edinburgh, BitGive will be delving into how to overcome the roadblocks to effective crypto-philanthropy and establish how cryptocurrency can best be used to uplift and revolutionise the charitable sector. This research collaboration will help organisations looking to engage in crypto-philanthropy and provide them with the guidelines they need to be successful.”

Supporting pilot projects

In a related announcement, GiveTrack will also be supporting several new pilot projects, including one with education-focused non-profit Open Mind Africa, which is now available on the platform.

“Through its experience of planning and delivering projects using GiveTrack, BitGive has gained insights into how cryptocurrency can be used to support humanitarian efforts in developing countries – as well as some of the challenges involved,” said Dr Claudia Pagliari, Research Partner at the University of Edinburgh.

“Through the research collaboration with BitGive, and meeting key stakeholders, we aim to learn as much as we can about the technical and contextual factors that can influence the success of these approaches. [We want this] knowledge used to inform future programmes worldwide.”

*CDN Jargonbust: A 501(c) organisation is one of 29 types of non-profit organisations exempt from some US federal income taxes. For example, a nonprofit organisation may be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) if its primary activities are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering amateur sport competitions, preventing cruelty to children, or preventing cruelty to animals. (Adapted from Wikipedia)

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