Two Bitcoin organisations have launched a website to promote the use of the digital currency to charities and other non-profit organisations.
The Bitcoin Embassy and Bitcoin Foundation Canada, which are both non-profits, have set up the online resource, GiveBTC. It includes an online directory of non-profits using Bitcoin and a handbook explaining why charities should consider accepting Bitcoin donations and advice on how to set it up.
So far 350 organisations or projects that accept Bitcoin donations have been added to the directory. It is intended to be a crowdsourced resource and individuals can suggest organisations and projects which should be included in the directory.
The handbook has been compiled by 15 volunteers and includes advice on security and legal issues concerning Bitcoin donations.
Francis Pouliot, chief executive of Bitcoin Foundation Canada, said: “It can be quite difficult to convince a non-profit organisation to integrate Bitcoin to its fundraising and management operations. Bitcoin sometimes arouses suspicion amongst executives or directors which must be convinced of its 'legitimate' usage.”
RNLI: we receive Bitcoins on a daily basis
RNLI became the first major charity in the UK to accept Bitcoin donations last summer; so far it has raised around £2,500.
A spokeswoman for the charity said: “We continue to get donations on an almost daily basis, with over £100 in donations in the first week of 2015.”
A number of charities outside of the UK already receive donations through cryptocurrencies, including, the Wikimedia Foundation in the US and Pathways to Education in Canada.
Bitcoin launched in 2009 as an online peer-to-peer payment system with all transactions recorded on a public ledger. The number of businesses accepting Bitcoin as payment is growing and includes the travel company Expedia and Dell the computer retailer.
Bitcoins do not physically exist and are not controlled by a bank or government. They are a part of a growing category of money known as ‘cryptocurrency’, which are created and held electronically and allow users to make transactions over the internet.