2021: Crypto Philanthropy By The Numbers
- The total donation volume on The Giving Block in 2021 was $69,644,535, an increase of 1,558% from 2020.
- The average crypto donation size on The Giving Block in 2021 was $10,455, an increase of 236% from the previous year.
- NFT projects donated $12.3 million to charities via the Giving Block in 2021.
- Crypto donation volume increased every single quarter in 2021.
- The Giving Block’s Impact Index Funds (index funds for Crypto Philanthropy), established in November, raised $418,200 in their first two months.
- The Giving Block’s Crypto Adoption Fund (a mission-agnostic index fund for all pro-crypto nonprofits on the platform), established in November, raised $444,700 in its first two months.
On average, nonprofits received $69,644 in crypto donations in 2021 via The Giving Block, an increase of 66% from 2020.
Five Crypto Philanthropy Trends in 2021
- For the first time, Ethereum (ETH) was the most-donated cryptocurrency in 2021, totalling $30.79 million in donation volume via The Giving Block. Previously, Bitcoin (BTC) had been the cryptocurrency with the highest annual donation volume.
- Unlike in previous years, stablecoins like USD Coin (USDC) and Dai (DAI) were among the cryptocurrencies with the highest donation volume on The Giving Block.
- NFT philanthropy emerged as a major force in charitable crypto giving, with more than $12.3 million donated from verifiable NFT projects, artists, and platforms.
- In 2021, many cryptocurrency users donated to cause-related funds, which distributed donations evenly to the multiple nonprofits participating in these funds.
- More than 100 leaders in the Crypto Philanthropy space, including both individuals and companies, took The Crypto Giving Pledge, a commitment to donate one percent or more of their crypto gains to charity each year.
By now, much of the global population has heard of cryptocurrencies, including 86% of Americans. But while only a fraction of the world has actively invested in, traded, or used cryptocurrencies, the global crypto user base is expanding at an exponential rate, doubling in the six-month period between January and June 2021. Today, there are more than 295 million cryptocurrency users worldwide.
As awareness and usage of cryptocurrencies continues to spread, Crypto Philanthropy, or the practice of donating cryptocurrency to charitable organizations, has emerged as a sustainable source of fundraising for nonprofit organizations and charities. The increasing user base size, combined with the rising global market capitalization of cryptocurrencies, which soared to an all-time high of $3 trillion in November 2021, has captured the attention of the charitable sector.
Nonprofit organizations of all sizes have come to realize the potential of crypto users as a force for giving. Pro-crypto nonprofits have experimented with new fundraising strategies and integrated technical solutions, such as The Giving Block’s widget, that enable them to accept donations in a variety of cryptocurrencies, process transactions securely and compliantly, and provide a seamless user experience for donors.
The data suggests that these nonprofits are right to focus more of their fundraising efforts on cryptocurrency users. A recent survey, for example, suggests that crypto donors are disproportionately generous: nearly half of the surveyed cryptocurrency investors donated $1,000 or more to charity in 2020, compared to just one-third of the general investor population.
The statistics in our 2021 Annual Report highlight several insights about cryptocurrency donors and the nonprofits that accept their donations. In 2021, for example, cryptocurrency users donated more than $69 million to nonprofits via The Giving Block, which represents an increase of more than 1,000% from the prior year. Meanwhile, the average value of a cryptocurrency donation was 82x larger than the average online cash donation.
The increased cryptocurrency donation volume over the past year likely may be attributed to crypto’s long “bull run” that characterized much of 2021 and the increased ease of donating cryptocurrencies to charities. Crypto users are also highly incentivized to give because of the potential to offset their capital gains tax liabilities by making charitable cryptocurrency donations.
To capture the insights within this report, we examined fundraising data from more than 1,000 charities that accept cryptocurrency donations with The Giving Block. By sharing this data publicly, we hope to bring greater visibility to Crypto Philanthropy and lay the foundation for more in-depth industry data reporting in the years ahead.
How Much Was Donated Through Crypto Philanthropy in 2021?
For several reasons, 2021 was a watershed year for Crypto Philanthropy. Most notably, the crypto community donated cryptocurrency in record numbers in 2021, giving more than $69 million to charitable causes via The Giving Block and surpassing the totals from 2020 by a wide margin.
This increased giving could be attributed, in part, to the crypto market’s “bull run” performance, which resulted in the appreciation of many crypto assets. Second, the diversity of assets donated to charities in 2021 reflected the evolution of the crypto and blockchain ecosystem. Throughout the year, The Giving Block widget added support for additional stablecoins, governance tokens, and more. As a result, the ability to donate more than 70 cryptocurrencies by December 2021 almost certainly contributed to the greater donation volume compared to the prior year. Finally, the deadline to be eligible for the tax benefits of donating cryptocurrency helped fuel the swell of year-end donations.
Tax and market-driven motivations aside, these donors are compelled to support charitable causes because of an altruistic desire to make a positive difference in the world and the lives of others. This trend may be explained by the fact that a large share of crypto users are Millennials, one-third of whom view themselves as philanthropists regardless of their overall net worth or giving power relative to others.
Additionally, the crypto community is engaged in constant conversation about the growing list of use cases for crypto assets and technology—partaking in Crypto Philanthropy, as with other use cases, is a way for crypto enthusiasts to promote and celebrate the relevancy of cryptocurrency in the real world.
Given the tremendous year-on-year rise in crypto donations, we anticipate consistent, sustainable growth in Crypto Philanthropy in the years to come, independent of crypto’s overall market conditions.
By The Numbers
Overall Cryptocurrency Donation Volume
Total Annual Volume of Cryptocurrency Donations (USD)
The Value of an Average Crypto Donation
Mean Average Cryptocurrency Donation Size
Donations: Crypto vs. Cash
Average Cryptocurrency Donation vs. Average Online Cash Donation
Monthly Volume of Cryptocurrency Donations in 2021
A month-by-month view of cryptocurrency donations in 2021 reveals several interesting crypto giving patterns.
From January to December, for example, monthly donation volume on The Giving Block’s widget increased dramatically. In January, the donation volume was approximately $300,000, while December’s total donation volume surpassed $20,000,000.
This trend may be a reflection of the growth of the overall cryptocurrency market cap over the course of 2021; it also may be attributed to the growing number of nonprofits that began accepting cryptocurrency donations throughout the year.
The average donation size on The Giving Block also varied throughout the year, beginning at roughly $1,500 in January and ending the year above $10,000.
In the final four months of 2021, donor giving skyrocketed. During this consecutive stretch of four months, donors gave the highest monthly totals of crypto donations, as well as the highest monthly crypto donation volume by cash value.
Finally, crypto donation volume increased every single quarter of 2021. In Q1, the total donation volume was roughly $1.69 million, for example, while in Q4 the total donation volume was approximately $43.1 million.
2021 Cryptocurrency Donations by Month
Percentage of Crypto Donations Made Each Month
2021 Year-End Giving: In Context
What drove the year-end spike in giving? In part, we attribute this success to Bag Season, The Giving Block’s annual year-end crypto fundraising campaign. Bag Season kicked off with #CryptoGivingTuesday (November 30, 2021), which raised $2.4 million for charities in a single day, an increase of 583% from 2020.
To prepare for Bag Season, nonprofits were given a PR toolkit including sample social media posts, graphics, and talking points for year-end crypto fundraising, and attended webinars run by The Giving Block to answer questions and provide support to nonprofit fundraising teams.
#CryptoGivingTuesday Donation Volume
Year-On-Year Growth of #CryptoGivingTuesday Donations
Crypto Donor Giving Patterns
Cryptocurrency Donations Spiked at the End of 2021
Donations: Crypto vs. Cash
Average Cryptocurrency Donation vs. Average Online Cash Donation
Charitable Donations of Individual Cryptocurrencies
The Giving Block’s widget added support for dozens of cryptocurrencies in 2021. By the year’s end, The Giving Block supported cryptocurrency donations in more than 70 assets, from Bitcoin to Shiba Inu. For donors, these additional giving options helped remove financial barriers that would have otherwise prevented them from making charitable donations.
For example, the act of trading USDC for ETH, even for the strict purpose of making a charitable donation, would be considered a taxable event by the IRS. From the perspective of a crypto user, this kind of transaction is not ideal and would have a similar consequence to selling crypto for cash in order to make a donation. When support for USDC was added in November 2021, it quickly became one of the most-donated cryptocurrencies by volume in 2021, accounting for over $4.73 million in charitable donations.
Similarly, we introduced support for Shiba Inu in November 2021. By mid-December, it was the fourth-most donated cryptocurrency of the month.
Support for additional crypto assets also impacts nonprofits. With each new asset added to The Giving Block’s widget, organizations are provided with an opportunity to present their mission to different subsets of the crypto user base and diversify their source of donors.
Operation Broken Silence, a nonprofit with a mission to empower the people of Sudan through innovative programs, posted a tweet with a powerful graphic that showed the impact that donations of different cryptocurrencies can make on the communities served by their organization.
The Most Donated Cryptocurrencies
The cryptocurrency with the highest donation volume was Ethereum (ETH), with $30.79 million donated.
Bitcoin gifts ($25.88 million) accounted for the second largest donation volume per an individual cryptocurrency. For the first time, Ethereum “flippened” Bitcoin in donation volume made via the The Giving Block in 2021.
Donations of stablecoins like USD Coin (USDC), Gemini Dollar (GUSD), Dai (DAI), and TerraUSD (UST) accounted for 10% of the total annual donation volume, or $7.47 million.
Top Cryptocurrencies Donated in 2021
Cryptocurrencies With the Highest Annual Donation Volume
Nonprofits and Charities Accepting Cryptocurrency Donations
In 2021, hundreds, if not thousands, of nonprofit organizations of all sizes and focus areas chose to fundraise cryptocurrency for the first time. The growth of cryptocurrency adoption in the charitable sector was not solely a matter of technical integration. More than ever before, nonprofit organizations and charities engaged in active crypto fundraising efforts. At the most basic level, nonprofits created specific crypto donation pages on their websites, engaged with crypto users on Twitter and other social media platforms, and participated in nonprofit crypto fundraising campaigns like #CryptoGivingTuesday.
With more than 1,000 nonprofits accepting cryptocurrency donations by the end of 2021, the numbers signal the arrival of a new narrative: crypto fundraising is no longer an anomaly or simple curiosity; Crypto Philanthropy is going mainstream.
The reasons why nonprofits first decide to accept cryptocurrency donations can vary widely. In some cases, donors may approach perplexed nonprofit boards, fundraising departments or social media teams with a request to donate cryptocurrency. For other organizations, disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed a search from leadership for new revenue streams, to diversify their donor base or to attract Millenials and Gen-Z. Many nonprofits have looked to cryptocurrency as the next logical step in fundraising innovation. For several organizations, Crypto Philanthropy addresses the more specific challenge of creating sustained, meaningful engagement with younger donors, and taps into a powerful tax incentive to donate.
As more nonprofits can attribute some of their impact to the generosity of their supporters in the crypto community, it is likely that organizations will devote a greater share of their development resources toward crypto fundraising initiatives. What’s more, the success of nonprofits fundraising crypto will inspire the rest of the nonprofit industry to accept cryptocurrency donations in the coming years.
Average Nonprofit Crypto Donation Volume
Average Annual Value of Crypto Donations Per Nonprofit on The Giving Block
Growth in Nonprofit Crypto Adoption
Nonprofits and Charities Accepting Crypto Donations via The Giving Block
New Models of Crypto Giving and Fundraising
Crypto Philanthropy was notable in 2021 not only with respect to the overall cryptocurrency donation volume and nonprofit adoption, but also for the innovations that have deepened the connections between the crypto and nonprofit sectors.
Through remarkable collective fundraising efforts, such as #BagSeason, #CryptoGivingTuesday, #NFTuesday, and Causes Week, pro-crypto nonprofits were able to raise their visibility together and educate the crypto community on the myriad ways their donations can make an impact.
Many nonprofits embarked on collaborative campaigns with members of the crypto and NFT community. Few could have predicted the rise of NFT giving as a pillar of Crypto Philanthropy in January 2021, but it was responsible for donating millions of dollars each month for charitable causes.
Further, crypto companies have begun to integrate in-platform donation options for their users, thereby reducing friction in the giving experience. The crypto sector’s continued evolution indicates a promising future for crypto giving.
Many reporters have declared 2021 the year of the NFT. As a crypto fundraising tool, the NFT may be the single most significant development from this past year. In 2021, well over $12.3 million in crypto donations were made from known NFT projects to dozens of charities on The Giving Block platform.
Dozens of NFT artists and projects sold NFTs and donated some or all of the proceeds to charities. Some made one-time gifts—one in particular was valued at $3.5 million at the time of the donation— while others made frequent donations (either one off, or built into smart contracts) to one or many nonprofits.
In other cases, nonprofits and NFT artists partnered for fundraising campaigns, including the following examples:
- The Giving Block organized #NFTuesday, a one-day celebration of NFT charitable giving with charity auctions hosted by Sotheby’s, CoinDesk, Messari, and more.
- Nonprofit organization Hope for Haiti hosted a charity auction on Hic et Nunt, an NFT marketplace.
- Trees for the Future received donations from Woodies, an NFT project. To contextualize the impact of the donations from Woodies, the organization shared data with their Twitter followers to show what kind of effect 73.8 ETH will have on their mission.
- After Orangutan Outreach received donations from the Bored Ape Yacht Club team, its founder purchased a Bored Ape NFT and invested his time in connecting with the NFT community. Since then, the organization has seen a rise in donations from NFT artists and collectors.
Impact Index Funds
The Giving Block’s Impact Index Funds, launched in November 2021, bundle together nonprofits with similar cause areas or thematically-related missions. Impact Index Funds were conceived of as a way to reduce friction in the donor experience by eliminating or greatly reducing the amount of research that crypto donors would need to make an informed decision about where to donate. In this way, Impact Index Funds are much like index funds, but for Crypto Philanthropy. By making a donation to an Impact Index Fund (for example, the Human and Civil Rights Impact Index Fund) donors can give with the understanding that they will be supporting several vetted organizations that are aligned in their priorities. Every nonprofit organization receives an equal share of the amount donated to their Impact Index Fund.
During the first-ever Causes Week (December 10-15, 2021), nonprofits on The Giving Block collectively fundraised for their respective Impact Index Funds. Nonprofits and charities used the opportunity to educate the crypto community about their missions, cause areas, and the impact of crypto donations.
- In just two months (November and December 2021), the total overall value of crypto donations to The Giving Block’s Impact Index Funds was about $418,200.
- The average donation size to the Impact Index Funds was about $5,000.
Top 5 Impact Index Funds by Total Donation Volume
Donation Volume of Impact Index Funds in November and December 2021.*
* Because The Giving Block’s Impact Index Funds were established in November 2021, data reflects donation volume only for November and December 2021.
Crypto Adoption Fund
The Crypto Adoption Fund was established in November 2021 as a mission-agnostic index fund for all pro-crypto nonprofits on The Giving Block’s platform. Every US-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization accepting cryptocurrency donations with The Giving Block is eligible to participate in the Crypto Adoption Fund. These participating nonprofits receive donations on a regular basis, regardless of whether they are actively (or effectively) fundraising on their own. For nonprofits that are small, lacking in resources, or new to crypto fundraising, receiving a share of the Crypto Adoption Fund helps them become integrated into the Crypto Philanthropy ecosystem.
The other key benefit of the Crypto Adoption Fund is that it allows crypto users to support the greatest number of nonprofits with just a single donation. For the crypto donors that are interested in supporting charitable causes but aren’t familiar with specific organizations, or are simply eager to donate because they have the ability to give with their cryptocurrency, the Crypto Adoption Fund is a happy solution.
- Over the first two months of its existence, November and December 2021, The Giving Block’s Crypto Adoption Fund received over $444,700 in crypto donations.
- The average donation size to the Crypto Adoption Fund was $14,824.
Impact Index Fund & Crypto Adoption Fund: 2021 Donation Volume
In only two months, The Giving Block’s Crypto Adoption Fund and Impact Index Funds received more than $860,000 worth of cryptocurrency donations.
Many of the contributions to these Impact Index Funds were made during Causes Week, a weeklong fundraising campaign that ran from December 13-17, 2021. During Causes Week, each of The Giving Block’s Impact Index Funds were highlighted on The Giving Block’s social media channels.
Nonprofits participated by posting and using hashtags to increase visibility to their respective Impact Index Funds. Donors that wanted to support Impact Index Funds during this week made contributions in the same way that they would have donated to individual charities.
Impact Index Fund & Crypto Adoption Fund Donation Volume
Total Donation Volume to Funds in November and December 2021*
* Because The Giving Block’s Impact Index Funds and Crypto Adoption Fund were established in November 2021, data reflects donation volume only for November and December 2021.
The Crypto Giving Pledge
The Crypto Giving Pledge is an initiative launched in 2021 to create a sustainable culture of philanthropy in the crypto space. The pledge is a commitment to donate one percent or more of your crypto to charitable organizations each year. Unlike other similar giving pledges, all in the crypto community are welcome to take the Crypto Giving Pledge, not just thought leaders and high net worth individuals.
Through the collective generosity of The Crypto Giving Pledge members, we aim to:
- Help better the world by supporting impactful nonprofit organizations, foundations, charities, and faith-based organizations through cryptocurrency.
- Aid in the effort to bring cryptocurrency adoption to the mainstream, by demonstrating the large-scale philanthropic impact of the global crypto community.
- Inspire millions, from crypto users to NFT artists to blockchain companies, to join together in an effort to make generosity one of the main pillars of crypto culture.
By taking The Crypto Giving Pledge, crypto donors are making a financial commitment to supporting organizations that aim to make a positive social impact. They are also helping to build and sustain the fastest-growing philanthropic community in the world.
At the end of 2021, more than 120 individuals and companies signed up for the Crypto Giving Pledge. Members include Mike Novogratz, Tony Hawk, Meltem Demiors, Ryan Selkis, FTX, Ray Youssef, Tegan Kline and many more.
2022 Crypto Philanthropy Outlook
The events and results from 2021 reminded us that Crypto Philanthropy is in a state of perpetual change. We witnessed hundreds of nonprofit organizations join together in collective fundraising efforts, saw the emergence of NFT platforms, perpetual giving via smart contracts and projects as vehicles for positive social change, and calculated the data to show that crypto charitable giving is very much on the rise. With more ways to donate crypto than ever before, and more nonprofits ready to accept those donations, the future is bright for cryptocurrency giving.
As an emerging source of fundraising, individuals from all corners of the crypto community—from anonymous donors to industry leaders to NFT artists—have shown enthusiasm for using crypto to support important causes, from animal rights and disaster relief to mental health awareness and cancer research and beyond.
Given the crypto market outlook, user and nonprofit adoption growth, and innovations in fundraising, crypto has the potential to become the most powerful philanthropic force on the planet in the years ahead.
About the Report
All data and statistics contained in this report, unless otherwise noted, were taken from The Giving Block’s (and their partners’) databases.
Information about cryptocurrency users and donors from outside sources are linked within the report.
This report was published on February 2, 2022.
About The Giving Block
Founded in 2018, The Giving Block is turning Crypto Philanthropy into one of the greatest forces for good on the planet by making cryptocurrency fundraising easy for nonprofits while empowering donors to give Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to their favorite causes.
The Giving Block currently enables more than 1,000 mission-driven organizations, charities, universities, and faith-based organizations of all sizes to accept cryptocurrency donations and helps them maximize their fundraising outcomes with strategic consulting and personal support.
Learn more and discover why cryptocurrency is the fastest growing donation method for Millennial and Gen-Z donors, at thegivingblock.com.
Crypto is Good.
Crypto has an unmistakable impact on the world, both on the blockchain and beyond.
Together, with nonprofits and their supporters, The Giving Block is helping to make crypto the future of fundraising.
The impact of a crypto donation can mean the difference for an individual, a family, or an entire community. Crypto donations can help provide meals, fund scholarships, remove ocean waste, and so much more.
As global crypto adoption increases, so does the power of Crypto Philanthropy to change lives and better the world around us.
Learn more about what’s possible with crypto donations at thegivingblock.com.
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