Mainstream media lambasts the cryptocurrency industry for housing the world’s unsavory. Incumbent President Donald Trump argued in his now infamous thread on Bitcoin and Libra that digital assets can “facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity”.
Some others in the who’s who of global finance and politics have expressed a similar sentiment, lambasting cryptocurrencies for their ability to perpetuate the world’s issues.
They aren’t technically wrong. As reported by Blockonomi previously, cryptocurrency crime is a $4 billion industry in 2019, with bad actors scamming and hacking innocents for millions each and every day. A report from Chainalysis also suggested that digital assets were the payment medium for $1 worth of billion dark web purchases in the first half of 2019.
But, what the aforementioned pundits do wrong is cast a single blanket over all of the cryptocurrency industry, claiming that all of those involved — us, really — aren’t above board.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s what Fidelity Charitable, the philanthropic arm of Wall Street’s Fidelity Investments, suggests anyway.
Fidelity Has Received Over $100 Million in Bitcoin, XRP, & More
As spotted by CoinDesk, Fidelity Charitable recently surmounted a key milestone, revealing in an annual report that it has received more than $100 million worth of crypto-asset donations since 2015.
In 2018, $30 million of the branch’s $5 billion in contributions were made through cryptocurrencies. While this is a small percentage, it goes to show that charity is a part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, just like all other industries.
Interestingly, Fidelity Charitable bagged $69 million in crypto donations over 2017, making digital assets the fastest-growing asset type accepted by Fidelity.
The report claimed that “non-publicly traded assets”, which includes everything from private stock and real estate to cryptocurrencies, ” represent a significant portion of wealth in the United States but have traditionally been a largely untapped source of philanthropic funding.”
Despite this, cryptocurrency investors have been quite charitable, despite the small size and nascency of the industry.
Not a New Trend
Crypto donations aren’t a new trend.
Last year, Brian Armstrong of Coinbase revealed that he had signed the Giving Pledge, a formal declaration of charity targeted at billionaires created by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.
Armstrong joins BitMEX’s Ben Delo, Kathleen Breitman of Tezos, Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg, Gates and Buffet themselves, among some of the world’s most well-known entrepreneurs, investors, and company founders. Armstrong is also behind GiveCrypto, a charity aimed at distributing cryptocurrencies “to people in need.”
GiveCrypto, a net benefit for both the impoverished and the crypto industry, has already garnered boatloads of traction, with the CEOs of Ripple, Electric Coin Company, Bitcoin.com, BitMEX, and countless other preeminent crypto startups donating collective millions to the initiative.
Charity has also spread to a crypto corporate level. Binance late last year announced that it would be donating all listing fees that cryptocurrency projects pay to be listed on the renowned exchange.
And even the common Joes and Jills in the cryptocurrency industry, like you or I, have proven to be quite charitable. When the Notre Dame in Paris was damaged in a devastating fire, the cryptocurrency community banded together to donate tens of thousands.
Donating Bitcoin & Ilk Just Makes Sense
So why donate cryptocurrencies? Why not donate fiat monies, which can be inflated away at the whim of central banks?
Well, according to an excerpt from the report:
“Fidelity Charitable’s ability to accept cryptocurrency donations, including bitcoin, allowed these donors to eliminate any capital gains taxes and give the full fair market value to charity.”
It also may make sense from a pure fundamental standpoint. Unlike the fiat system, cryptocurrencies can be transacted near-instantly, across the world, and at an extremely low cost compared to the multi-day, often high-fee wire system that most charities likely enlist at current.