We first registered The Giving Block LLC on May 22, 2018. At the time, I was a management consultant, Pat was working at the Lupus Foundation of America and crypto was entering a major bear market that would see bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies drop over 80% in value. What better time to convince people to donate crypto, right?
There were very few nonprofits accepting cryptocurrency donations in 2018. Even those that did often only accepted bitcoin and didn’t heavily promote their crypto donation option. In launching The Giving Block, we set out to create a new category we called “Crypto Philanthropy,” with a mission of making crypto the greatest force for good on the planet.
How It All Started
The thesis behind The Giving Block was that crypto adoption would continue to grow and that the passionate community of crypto users would become an incredibly valuable donor demographic for nonprofits. Not only would these donors be relatively wealthy if crypto took off, but they would skew much younger than the average donor. With Pat’s nonprofit background, we knew how important it was for nonprofits to diversify their fundraising revenue and engage young donors. The latter was especially true for large nonprofit organizations with older donor bases that generally have an average age of over 50.
The Pineapple Fund also had an outsized impact on the motivation to launch The Giving Block. In December 2017, the Pineapple Fund donated over $56M worth of bitcoin to 60 different nonprofits. For many of these nonprofits, it was their first time accepting a bitcoin donation. Today, nearly all of those nonprofits work with The Giving Block and have played a big role in informing the design of our crypto fundraising products and services.
We spent the first year speaking to nonprofits that were accepting cryptocurrency donations and learning everything we could about how to best serve them while still working our day jobs. It became immediately clear that just creating an easy way to accept crypto donations for nonprofits wouldn’t be enough.
Coinbase Commerce, BitPay, BitGive and others were already in-market helping nonprofits accept cryptocurrency donations. But no one was helping nonprofits connect with crypto donors. Nonprofits weren’t talking to crypto donors and crypto donors weren’t talking to nonprofits – they lived in two entirely different worlds. Accepting crypto was easy, but fundraising crypto was hard and needed its own comprehensive solution and playbook.
To meet the needs of nonprofits and donors, we focused our energy on being the best at two things: (1) Equipping nonprofits with the technology, strategy and support to easily and effectively fundraise crypto, and (2) Empowering donors to give crypto to nonprofits they love worldwide. We did this by developing the first all-in-one crypto fundraising solution for nonprofits that includes both a reliable payment processor to securely accept crypto donations (without additional operational burden or headcount required) and crypto fundraising education, strategic guidance and technical support to maximize fundraising outcomes.
To bring these communities closer together, we built a crypto donation marketplace that makes it easy for donors to learn about and give crypto to thousands of crypto-friendly nonprofits. In the process, we launched Bag Season (our answer to Giving Season), Crypto Giving Tuesday, the Crypto Giving Pledge and other initiatives aimed at growing the nascent Crypto Philanthropy category by deepening the connection between nonprofits and crypto donors.
Where We Go From Here
Today, The Giving Block works with thousands of nonprofits and has raised over $100 million in crypto donations for causes around the world. Our growth has been consistent through crypto bull and bear markets, fueled by the innovative spirit of our nonprofits and the incredible generosity of the crypto and NFT communities.
Backed by our parent company, Shift4, we’ve also started work to bring crypto donations and payments to their massive network of 200,000+ merchants around the world, accelerating mainstream crypto adoption and growing the global footprint of crypto philanthropy.
It’s been four years, but we’re still early. Crypto Philanthropy is just getting started and along with Shift4, The Giving Block team will be working harder than ever to bring innovative solutions to our nonprofits and donors as we strive to make crypto the greatest force for good on the planet.
Alex Wilson & Pat Duffy
Co-Founders, The Giving Block