International charity Fidelity Charitable has experienced a surge in donations in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether, with cryptocurrency now its fastest growing donation type.
Figures released today showed donations totalling $69 million from over 169 separate donors in cryptocurrency, reflecting a growth rate some 140% faster than the next most common types of donations.
The impressive growth in cryptocurrency donations continues the trend experienced by Fidelity Charitable since it first started accepting this type of donation in 2015. In 2016, donations through cryptocurrency totalled just $7 million.
The figures from the charity’s annual report coincide with a period of booming cryptocurrency markets, particularly over the final months of 2017, when prices in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies set new all-time highs.
“It is one of the fastest growing assets that we are seeing wanting to be contributed to charity. Many people who own bitcoin or other forms of cryptocurrency do want to be philanthropic,” said Amy Pirozzolo, Vice President of Fidelity Charitable.
The reporting period also coincides with the increasing profile of cryptocurrencies across global media, and could indicate a potential preference amongst some significant donors to give through cryptocurrency in the future.
Paul Lamb, of cryptocurrency consultancy Man on a Mission Consulting, suggested that more charities were now keen to accept donations in various cryptocurrencies, to provide more choice for donors.
“I think there’s a strong desire to accept not only bitcoin, but other cryptocurrencies as well, so it’s really a matter of building it and providing a menu of options from fiat to the wide range of cryptocurrencies.”
In particular, Pirozzolo attributes the increase in donations to raising awareness, through an extensive marketing campaign to generate visibility for their support of cryptocurrency donations.
“As that took hold – and we created a web page for people to understand how you can donate this, and started buying paid search behind this, and got more mainstream media coverage and more social coverage – this whole thing really took off.”
As part of the campaign, Fidelity Charitable also highlighted that donations in cryptocurrency from certain investment funds come without capital gains, which could continue to encourage similar donations in future.