BitGive is a non-profit organization that aims to bridge the gap between practical philanthropic solutions for nonprofit and humanitarian work globally made possible through emerging blockchain technology.
Established in 2013, BitGive is reportedly the first Bitcoin (BTC) and blockchain technology-focused nonprofits 501(c)(3) in existence.
Gallippi has more than 20 years of experience working with environmental and nonprofit organizations. She says that she quickly understood and realized the potential impact blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) would have on many of the pain points nonprofit organizations suffered.
These included a need for micropayment options, precise tracking of donor funds from beginning to end, anonymous donor privacy, removal of misuse of donor funds, among other value-adds.
On May 4, 2020, BitGive revealed that it had teamed up with Direct Relief, GiveDirectly, and One Fair Wage Emergency Fund, in order to use blockchain tech to offer financial aid to people affected by the Coronavirus.
The company has established the BitGive COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. It has a fundraising goal of $20,000, and will be dedicated to providing personal protective equipment for medical professionals, financial relief to individuals who may be unemployed and who may not have a source of income, and also global funding for people who might need it.
As explained in a release shared with Crowdfund Insider:
“Through BitGive’s donation tracking platform, GiveTrack, donors have full transparency of their donations and choose between contributing in fiat or cryptocurrencies. The platform tracks how funds are spent, and also provides donors with direct evidence-based reporting. Campaign milestones are consistently shared on the public GiveTrack platform, including details on fund implementation and impact.”
Crowdfund Insider: Why do you think blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) is necessary when trying to launch an Emergency Relief Fund for COVID-19 or any other health crisis? How is DLT better than using just a regular database?
Connie Gallippi: Given the nature of the crisis, it’s important for donors to have additional transparency around how their funds are being allocated. People everywhere are seeking ways to help medical professionals and those impacted by COVID-19, but they want to feel that they are giving money to a trusted source. By using underlying blockchain technology, BitGive provides the most transparent giving platform, where donors can track exactly where their funds are going and the impact that they are making,
Decentralized systems provide true transparency into transaction data — something other platforms simply cannot. This data holds nonprofits accountable and is visible, provided in real time, and accessible to anyone who requests it. DLT also allows for faster, cheaper, and more secure transactions globally.
Crowdfund Insider: How can donations in Bitcoin be any more effective or useful than regular donations, such as in US dollars, or any other fiat currency?
Bitcoin is accepted by thousands of merchants, but it has still not reached mainstream adoption. So isn’t it easier to process donations using fiat money? Why Bitcoin?
Connie Gallippi: We are accepting a number of fiat currencies for the Emergency Relief Fund through our integration with Uphold and with PayPal donations, and those are converted into bitcoin.
However, we believe that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies open up donor pools for those who want to give in a more secure way. Cryptocurrency holds several distinct advantages such as the ability to move money across borders faster, cheaper, and more securely. Cryptocurrency donations also have the ability to increase in value over time and can be tax exempt if the nonprofit is tax exempt.
Crowdfund Insider: You’ve teamed up with other organizations (Direct Relief, GiveDirectly, and One Fair Wage Emergency Fund) for your latest donation project.
Please explain why you formed these partnerships and what strategic benefits will they offer.
Connie Gallippi: COVID-19 has affected everyone, but we want to support those people and populations who are in the most need during these difficult times. Direct Relief provides personal protective equipment to healthcare professionals throughout the U.S., Caribbean, and South America.
As we know, PPE has had increasingly high demands, especially for healthcare workers, and we are proud to be a part of the solution. One Fair Wage Emergency Fund provides monetary assistance to U.S. hourly workers who have lost their job as a result of the coronavirus crisis. They have a longstanding reputation for assisting hourly workers and are a trusted source. GiveDirectly supports relief funds through digital cash payments to those who have lost their job during this time in both the United States and Africa.
We wanted to work with solid, well-vetted organizations that have a proven track record of helping others, especially in this time of crisis, so that we know the funds that are given will be put to the best possible use. We chose these organizations based on their good work, missions, and geographic regions they service.
Crowdfund Insider: You accept donations in US dollars, Bitcoin, and Ethereum, and other assets. Do you plan on adding support for other types of payment methods?
Connie Gallippi: We recently integrated with Uphold to expand the number of currencies accepted via GiveTrack. Uphold supports more than 50 cryptocurrencies and additional national currencies such as USD, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dash as well as Visa and Mastercard payments.
We also just added a PayPal option specifically for this campaign to help bring in more mainstream donors who want to try out the platform. We hope that this integration allows for more mainstream donors, as well as crypto donors, to participate in the relief efforts.
Crowdfund Insider: What are your short- and long-term goals for BitGive as a company?
Connie Gallippi: Our short term goals are currently focused on raising funds for the Emergency Relief Fund. We plan to roll out a significant new feature on GiveTrack and will be announcing new projects in the coming months.
Long term we plan to further support NGOs and donors through product innovation such as new features on GiveTrack, and enhance the visualization of data that better inform donors.
Crowdfund Insider: Besides donating money, is there another way that BitGive makes it easier for people to help communities that might need it the most during these challenging times?
Connie Gallippi: Giving is not the only way we can help communities during these challenging times. A lot of our work is done in Latin America and other underserved regions.
We aim to bring awareness to some of the niche communities that need the most help such as: hospitals in Venezuela, skateboarding parks in Jamaica, and bringing clean water to Africa. Most folks wouldn’t know these issues exist, and BitGive provides intel and access to NGOs on the ground, tackling these essential needs.