The Giving Block

2021 Annual Report

Executive Summary

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.

Introduction

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.

Donation Data

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
The Value of an Average Crypto Donation
Donations: Crypto vs. Cash
Average Cryptocurrency Donation vs. Average Online Cash Donation
Donations Crypto vs Cash-2

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 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
#CryptoGivingTuesday Donation Volume
Crypto Donor Giving Patterns
Cryptocurrency Donations Spiked at the End of 2021
Crypto Donor Giving Patterns
Donations: Crypto vs. Cash
Average Cryptocurrency Donation vs. Average Online Cash Donation
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
Top Cryptocurrencies Donated in 2021
Total Donation Volume by Cryptocurrency
Annual Donation Volume of Cryptocurrencies Supported or Processed by The Giving Block

Total Donation Volume by Cryptocurrency

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
Average Nonprofit Crypto Donation Volume-
Growth in Nonprofit Crypto Adoption
Nonprofits and Charities Accepting Crypto Donations via The Giving Block

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.

Stay Engaged With
The Giving Block

PDF Report

Get a PDF of the 2021 Annual Report.

For Nonprofits

Learn more about accepting crypto donations.

For Donors

Support charities with cryptocurrency.